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Creamy Non-Dairy Tropical Smoothie

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((Sheepishly sneaks back into the blogging room, pretending as if she hasn’t been absent for the past three months))

If the look he gave me at the doctor’s office is any indication, I’m going to be in big trouble if my five-year-old, Lucas, finds out I’ve shared this story with you.

Many little boys dream of growing up to become superheroes, as if they will magically awaken one morning with webs shooting from the fingertips or the ability to leap the tallest buildings in a single bound. My Lucas has a better plan. He is aspiring to become a scientist when he grows up, with the specific intention of developing a potion which will give him super powers. He’s not about to sit around just waiting for it to happen.


This plan of his has come up again and again over the past few months. This is no casual daydream. His plans have incited intense arguments on the ride home from school over the morality of animal testing. Though Lucas has no desire to harm any animals, he feels it will be necessary to have an assortment of animals on hand to test his potions.  (Enter legions of super-powered rabbits and monkeys into the story.)

Liam, his older brother, has shamed him for his planned methods, accusing him of being a MAD scientist. Lucas remains insistent that he is a happy scientist.

He claims that while animal testing is necessary, his potions will be made of watermelon seeds and salt, because “salt ALWAYS makes potions better.” (Lucas has apparently spent some time in culinary school.) He will then dye the potions blue to trick the animals into thinking it is water. As you can tell, he’s put a frightening level of thought into these plans.


At a recent visit to the doctor, Lucas’ plans to become a scientist came up in discussion, as the doctor mixed the chemicals for a strep test. I mentioned the whole watermelon and salt potion, as it seemed relevant to the conversation. Lucas instantly shushed me and gave me the glare of death.

As a friend suggested, that doctor will likely now share the information with a colleague who secretly harbors a mad lust for power. He will attempt to replicate Lucas’ formula, but use the wrong proportions of watermelon seed to salt, resulting in a potion which grants him powers similar in strength to Lucas, but somehow twisted and corrupted.

In my casual comment, I had just created Lucas’ archnemesis.


It is hard being the mother of a mad scientist.

For a variety of reasons, I haven’t done as much cooking recently as I normally do, hence part of the reason I’ve been a bit absent from this blog. Of course, I’ll be making our traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight, along with boiled potatoes, carrots, and Irish soda bread. We’ll also consume a variety of green foods, which don’t normally occur green in nature.

This smoothie recipe hardly counts as a ‘recipe’ at all. It’s more of a “Hi, I still exist.” This naturally green, healthful potion is bursting with delicious nutrition which may actually induce super powers. Lusciously creamy, I suspect this recipe may produce a fantastic dairy-free iced dessert, if thrown into an ice cream maker. I foresee an experiment in our future.


Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the concocting of this smoothie.

Creamy Non-Dairy Tropical Smoothie


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • Juice of 1 lime


Scoop out the flesh of the avocados and mangos. Chop the bananas into chunks. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor, until smooth. Enjoy immediately, or chilled.

*A squirt of lime juice over the top of the smoothie will prevent the avocado from browning.



Crab Cake Summer Salad

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My five-year old, Liam, and his three-year-old younger brother, Lucas, are inseparable. Yet the two boys could hardly be more different. One of the most notable displays of their differences comes in the form of their regard for truth-telling.

We like to joke that with Lucas, you always know where you stand. He does not mince words and he tells it like it is, for better or worse. The kid does not tell a lie, ever. Even at the cost of rewards or consequences.

Lucas, did you hit your brother?
Yes, I did. He looked at me funny.
What’s that smell, Lucas?
It’s me. I farted.
Lucas, are you going to cooperate for Mommy today?
No, I’m not. (Spoken with a voice of unfortunate regret and calm, matter-of-fact truth.)

Liam, on the other hand, is almost always scheming for his next treat or devising a plan to get his hands on some forbidden item. And he is hardly ever not spinning some story.

Whatcha doing, Liam?
It’s impossible to be doing nothing. What are you really doing?
Seriously, Mommy. I’m not doing any mischief. (Indicator of certain mischief)
If I need to come in there to see what you’re doing, I’m going to be upset.
Alright…I’m climbing on a precarious pile of knives, broken glass, and samurai swords, trying to get to the candy on top of the fridge. 

So, on the afternoon, when Lucas came crying to us, claiming that Liam had spit on him, we were inclined to believe him. When confronted, Liam repeatedly insisted that he did not spit on his brother. Finally, as my husband puts it, he played the Jesus card. In his words, I pay for Catholic school. That gives me the right to play the Jesus card. The Jesus card goes something like this: What would Jesus think if he found out you were lying? (Apparently, the infamous Catholic guilt doesn’t come from the church. It comes from the parents.)

But it worked. Liam let out a sigh and then reluctantly said, Alright… He then proceeded to carefully explain that he did in fact spit. And it was, in fact, in Lucas’ general direction. But he wasn’t spitting at Lucas. Lucas just happened to get in the way of the spit.


The lesson here is…when in doubt, ask Lucas. And don’t take anything Liam tells you at face value.

I’m more of a Lucas when it comes to the truth, which goes to say that you can believe me when I tell you that this salad belongs on your list of must-make recipes for the summer. It’s a simple variation of one of my older recipes (Chilled Avocado Soup and Crab Cake with Chipotle Remoulade). In this variation, a simple broiled crab cake, loaded with crab meat and just enough filler to hold it together, is set atop a salad of mixed greens, ripe avocado, sweet corn, and summer tomatoes. A drizzle of spicy chipotle remoulade dressing completes the dish. This entree salad makes the perfect light, but satisfying summer dish. Crab, avocado, tomatoes, corn, and chipotle pepper…honestly, summer heaven.

Crab Cake Summer Salad with Chipotle Remoulade Dressing


For the Crab Cakes

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (regular or whole wheat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonaisse
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 pound jumbo lump or backfin crab meat, cooked*

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse
  • 1 chipotle pepper (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish

For the Salad

  • 8 cups mixed spring greens
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped**
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly shaved
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels

* Look for fresh-picked crabmeat in the seafood section of your grocery store. It’s a fresher alternative than canned crabmeat and a heck of a lot more convenient than picking your own crab meat!

** Click HERE for my photo guide on how to slice an avocado.


For the Crab Cakes: Preheat broiler. Wipe a baking sheet with a bit of olive or vegetable oil (to prevent sticking.) Combine all ingredients, except the crab meat, in a bowl. Mix until well blended. Gently fold the crab meat into the other ingredients, taking care not to break up the chunks too much. Use your hands to form four equal sized balls of the crab mixture. Gently flatten the balls into thick patties and place on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet several inches under the broiler and cook for about 10 minutes until completely heated through.

For the Dressing: Combine mayo, chipotle, relish, and mustard in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble the Salad: Arrange about 2 cups of mixed greens on each plate. Scatter with the avocado, tomatoes, corn, and red onions. Place a warm crab cake in the center. Drizzle with the dressing.

Makes 4 Salads

Chilled Avocado Soup and Crab Cake with Chipotle Remoulade

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Tonight’s meal was initially intended to be two separate meals.

Meal #1: Chilled Avocado Soup
Meal #2: Crab Cake Sandwiches with Chipotle Remoulade

Then, it occurred to me how marvelously the two would go together, like peas and carrots. You see, avocados and crab love, love, love each other! If it were socially acceptable for a fruit to marry a crustacean, the two would run away together and make millions of adorable baby crabocados. Until that day, we’ll just have to settle for joining them in perfect culinary union. With that in mind, tonight we’re making Chilled Avocado Soup decked with a Crabcake and dressed with Chipotle Remoulade.

We’ve really got three separate recipes going on here. And, they’re kind of like those items in your wardrobe that you can mix and match with other outfits in all sorts of ways. Make these recipes together, as I’m doing tonight, or use them in other ways. The crab cakes are fantastic as a sandwich or on their own, served on a bed of slaw. They’re wonderful full-sized or make perfect bite-sized hors d’ oeuvres. Serve them alongside a filet mignon with bernaise sauce for a really special dinner. The remoulade, a seasoned mayonnaise-based sauce, is great on seafood, but would also be delicious with chicken or roast beef. It also makes a great sandwich spread. Even I, the despiser of mayonnaise, enjoy this remoulade. The chilled avocado soup can stand alone (with a little dollop of creme fraiche) or top it with grilled shrimp, lobster, or broiled sea bass. Your options are truly unlimited.

Chilled Avocado Soup

  • 2 Ripe Avocados, skin and seed removed
  • 3/4 cup Chicken Stock (plus more, if desired)*
  • 1/2 cup Creme Fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/4 cup Parsley Leaves or Cilantro
  • 1/2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (plus more, if desired)
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, chopped fine (optional)*

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Add additional broth to make the soup thinner, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

*Use vegetable broth for a vegetarian soup.

* To add some spice without compromising the bright green color, add jalapeno pepper.  I did not have a jalapeno on hand when I make this soup today, but my guess is that 1/2 jalapeno should be about right.

Broiled Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

  • 1 pound Jumbo Lump Crab Meat, cooked*
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs or cracker crumbs)
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Old Bay or Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced

*You can steam and pick your own crabs, if you want. But, I always buy steamed jumbo lump crab meat, that’s been hand-picked and packaged. It’s a time-saving and mess-saving option, which in my opinion, makes very little difference in the quality of the final product.

Preheat broiler. Combine all ingredients, except the crab meat, in a bowl. Mix until well blended. Gently fold the crab meat into the other ingredients, taking care not to break up the chunks too much. Use your hands to form four equal sized balls of the crab mixture. Place the balls on a baking sheet and gently flatten into thick patties. Place under the broiler and cook for about 10 minutes until completely heated through.

Chipotle Remoulade

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper (from can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Pickle
  • 1 Anchovy fillet*
  • 1 tsp Mustard

*Run your fingers along the anchovy, as you rinse it under running water to check for and remove any larger bones. If you choose to omit the anchovie, you may want to add a dash of salt to the sauce.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To compose the dish:

Ladle some soup into a shallow bowl. (You don’t want the crabcake to drown in the soup, so don’t fill the bowl too deep.) Place the cooked crabcake in the center of the soup. Drizzle chipotle remoulade over the crab cake.

A little trick for drizzling the remoulade over your crab cake – Spoon some of the sauce into a small sandwich bag or ziploc. Use a pair of scissors to cut off a tiny bit of one corner.  Squeeze the sauce through the hole onto your crabcake.

Crab Cakes and Avocado. What The Gourmand Mom has joined together, let no one put asunder.

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