10 Things to Do with Avocados

Avocado is commonly referred to as a fruit, although it is actually a berry with one single seed inside. This is a delicious ingredient that is packed full of nutrients and healthy unsaturated fats. Sadly, people are often unsure of what they can make with avocados. They will buy one and then leave it at the bottom of the refrigerator untouched before discarding it. However, this is an extremely versatile ingredient and you can use it in a variety of ways in your cooking. Here are ten things to do with avocados.

  1. Guacamole– Starting with the obvious, guacamole is a delicious dip and there are many variations on recipes. I make it by mashing avocados with a fork and then adding finely chopped red onion, chilli, and lime juice. 
  2. Avocado smoothie- As it is packed with nutrients and has a smooth texture, avocados are perfect for creating smoothies. 
  3. Prawn cocktail filled avocado– A variation on the classic prawn cocktail, add prawns and thousand islands sauce to the centre of an avocado half and serve with a side salad. 
  4. Avocado toast- Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to mashed avocado and spread on toast.
  5. Avocado, crispy bacon, and walnut salad– Avocados are a fantastic addition to any salad. Serve salad leaves with slices of avocado, crispy bacon and walnuts for a nutrient-packed and delicious lunch.
  6. Smashed avocado and smoked salmon bagel– Salmon and avocado are a classic combination. Spread mashed avocado on a bagel before adding slices of smoked salmon. Add a twist of lemon, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Tortilla wraps with avocado and salad– A healthy lunch option is a soft tortilla wrap filled with chopped avocado, salad leaves, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
  8. Avocado, crab and chilli- Avocado works well with all types of seafood, including crab. To a halved avocado, add crab meat mixed with chopped chilies and lemon juice. 
  9. Greek-style avocado- Feta cubes and halved cherry tomatoes are the perfect combo for stuffing an avocado.
  10. Avocado and smoked salmon sushi rolls– If you are a sushi fan, try adding avocado. EIther simple roll sushi rice and avocado alone or with salmon.
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Food Blog Photo Disasters

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So far, this blog is going well, although it still needs some work. One of my main issues is photos. The images used on blogs make a difference to whether or not a post attracts readers or not. To be honest, my images aren’t great. I would love to take my own photographs for everything I post on here, but so far this isn’t happening. I reckon about 10% of the images I have used on this blog so far are my own and the rest are images from the Internet that are free to use commercially and modify.

There are several reasons for the issues I am having with phots:

  1. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of cooking meals while looking after four children and work at the same time mean I simply forget to take a photograph of the food I have made.
  2. I don’t necessarily write about food that I have made recently, so I have to use other images.
  3. I don’t have a camera, so any photos I do take are on my mobile phone.
  4. The lighting is bad in my kitchen and dining room. The food looks fantastic on the plate but the photos do not reflect this at all.
  5. There are lots of images available online until you try to search for ones that are free to use and then the selection of decent photos gets much smaller.

I would love some tips from other bloggers, either on how to take better photos on my mobile or places I can find good quality images of food on the Internet that are free to use. I currently use the advanced settings on Google Images, Flickr, Pixaby, and Pixels. 

Any tips?

RECIPE: Eggs Florentine

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Eggs Florentine is a delicious meal for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. It is easy to make and packed full of nutrients. The dish consists simply of a poached egg and spinach on an English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce. Here is how to make eggs Florentine for four people.

Ingredients for Eggs Florentine

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 English muffins, halved
  • Hollandaise sauce (read recipe here)
  • Black pepper

How to Make Eggs Florentine

  1. Make the hollandaise sauce first- read instructions here.
  2. Steam the spinach until it has wilted.
  3. Poach the eggs either in simmering water or a poaching pan until they are cooked to your liking.
  4. Grill the English muffins until they are golden on both sides and then butter. 
  5. Top the muffins with the spinach, then the poached egg, followed by the hollandaise sauce.
  6. Season with black pepper.

 

RECIPE: Hollandaise Sauce

hollondaise sauce

Hollandaise sauce is something that many people think is difficult to make and avoid using it for this reason. However, it is surprisingly easy to make and is a fantastic addition to dishes such as eggs Florentine or salmon and asparagus. Here is how to make hollandaise sauce in a few simple steps. 

Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3½oz/ 100g butter, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tbsp cold water
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce

  1. Put the butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted then remove from the heat.
  2. Bring a pan of water to simmering point then cover with a mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the mixing bowl over the pan and beat until the yolks have become a tick, pale mixture. 
  4. Add the water and lemon juice while continuing to whisk the mixture.
  5. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Add half of the melted butter and stir for a further two minutes.
  7. Remove bowl from the heat and slowly add the remaining butter while stirring.
  8. Season to taste with more salt, black pepper and lemon juice if necessary. 
  9. If you are serving this sauce warm, then rest the bowl over a pan of lukewarm water until you are ready to serve the dish. 

 

Nothing Like Egg and Chips

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As a home cook, I am enthusiastic about using lots ingredients, spending time on the preparation of food, trying new things, and experimenting in the kitchen. However, there is sometimes nothing like some good old comfort food that is quick and easy to make. While I usually try and make meals that incorporate vegetables and I am not a fan of fried foods in general, my favourite comfort food is egg and chips.

I spend hours every week deciding what to make, choosing ingredients, preparing family meals and then, quite often, writing about foo either for my own blog or the writing work I do for other people. 

Sometimes, though, I just can’t be bothered with the effort of it all and want to make something that is quick, greasy and comforting. Egg and chips is a favourite in my house, closely followed by sausage and mash. These meals may not be fine dining and they are certainly not for those on a diet, but there is something very satisfying about dipping a chip into a perfectly cooked egg yolk.

There are no complaints from the kids or my partner when I don’t spend hours slaving in the kitchen. They are just as happy to eat a quick and simple meal as a dish that includes lots of flavours and that requires a lot of preparation. My partner appreciates the fact that I work full-time and feels lucky to have a partner who enjoys cooking and produce a variety of meals.

Egg and chips is a very typical English meal, as is sausage and mash. What quick and easy meals do you make when you want something comforting? Feel free to comment below.

Sorting Out My Vitamin D Deficiency

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A couple of years ago, I was suffering from health problems and visited my doctor. One of the many tests he ordered was a blood test to check my levels of vitamin D. I was found to have a significantly low level of vitamin D in my body. This accounted for many of my symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, blurred vision, and depression.

The doctor prescribed me with a high dose of vitamin D supplements. However, I also discussed with him the steps I could take to improve my vitamin D levels myself. The main source of vitamin D is sunshine and this explains why it is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. I was spending hours sitting at the computer working as a freelance copywriter, so it was no surprise when he told me I needed to spend more time outdoors. From that point on, I started going for three or four long walks a week.

Although vitamin D is not found in many foods, there are some good sources of this vitamin and diet really does make a difference. Some of the foods that contain vitamin D are orange juice, fortified cereals, egg yolks, and oily fish, such as tuna steaks. I started to include these in my diet as much as possible. These are all foods that I started to include in my diet. 

Through a combination of supplements, dietary changes, and spending time outdoors walking all made a big difference. In just two months, my vitamin D levels had raised significantly. My energy levels increased, I suffered less with joint pain, and my moods were improved. A further bonus was that I lost weight and toned up from all that walking. 

Unfortunately, I have slipped back into bad habits. I am back spending too long at my computer and snacking while working instead of eating proper meals during the day. As a result, my vitamin D levels are low again.

At least now, I know what I can do to make the change. I need to resume my walking regime and start eating breakfast again. Hopefully, I can get my health back on track. 

 

One Month and a Big Thank You

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I have just received an email informing me that it is now a month since I started this blog. Wow! That has gone fast. I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that has read my blog, commented, liked, shared and followed. The photo is me saying ‘Cheers everyone!’

I have plenty more to write about- reviews, recipes, lifestyle, and tips. However, what I have enjoyed the most is reading other people’s blogs.  There is such a diverse range of talents, knowledge, interests, and opinions.

I am looking forward to the rest of the year blogging on here. The mini-mes would also like to say a big thank you for supporting their mum in this new venture:

family pic