Avocado Brownies {gluten-free}

Avocado Brownies 1

I heard that there was going to be an avocado shortage this year and I freaked out. I was having flashbacks to the fall when all the pumpkin crops were damaged by the floods. I vividly remember only being able to find pumpkin in HUGE cans (we call these #10 cans in the food biz…13 cups each) at GFS and stocking up on, like, a case (6) of them. Mr. Prevention was not happy with my going pumpkin crazed, but wouldn’t you know, all that pumpkin was consumed before its expiration date. Much sooner, in fact. I love, love, love pumpkin. Pumpkin anything, much to my mother’s disbelieve.

So when avocados were 5 for $5, I stocked up. Big time.

Avocado Brownies 2

I was making salads and smoothies and then got into baking with avocados…they’re great in salad dressings and with eggs on toast. You name it – avocados are incredibly versatile and of course, they’re packed with heart-healthy fats and that creamy goodness that leaves you in awe as to how something soooo delicious could be so good for you, too. Why aren’t there more foods out there like that, right? Totally.

It probably goes without saying, but the green frosting may be a bit much for some people. In fact, it was for me. Not that the frosting wasn’t delicious…but these brownies are rich, as many gluten-free baked goods tend to be. So, in the recipe posted below, I omitted the frosting.

Avocado Brownies 3

As I recover from my 24 hour (48 hour?) stomach bug (last night was UGLY), these brownies are calling my name. It’s probably a good sign that something other that Sprite and crackers are calling my name, but I do believe I will heed the advice of my midwife and keep with my BRAT diet today (grumble).

I’ll try to refrain from brownies for breakfast, but…no promises. Able to tout healthy fats and a bit of fiber along with their rich fudginess, they’re hard to resist!

Avocado Brownies 4

Avocado Brownies {gluten-free}
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
I omitted the frosting in my version below (so rich!), but you can find the recipe here.
  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chips, melted
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the avocados using a fork against the side the bowl. Mash until no longer lumpy.
  3. In a separate bowl, melt 8 ounces of dark chocolate in the microwave on high, stirring every 15-30 seconds; allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  5. Whisk the melted chocolate into the avocado and add the sugar, hazelnut spread, eggs, vanilla, and canola oil. Next, add the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.
  6. Bake brownies for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Recipe from The Spiffy Cookie, adapted from How Sweet It Is
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 brownie (1/16th recipe) Calories: 285 Fat: 19.5 Carbohydrates: 25.7 Sugar: 21.4 Sodium: 59 Fiber: 2.4 Protein: 4.5 Cholesterol: 27

 Hard to believe it’s almost Friday already…I guess a short work week and a day away for an exam (passed!) will do that. No complaints!

P.S. Thanks for all of your love for Baby Shea :) We’re so excited!! I plan to post soon on all of my bizarre pregnancy symptoms ;)

Be well,


Lentil and Corn Tacos


Last week, we started another round of parent-child cooking classes at work. Always a good time, always an exhausting end to the work day. But the kids, my gosh, they seriously love coming and for me, being able to spend time with kiddos and send them HOME with their parents…it’s like the best of both worlds.

We start each new session with introductions, including everyone listing off their favorite food. We then try to categorize which food group(s) the foods belong. Remedial, yes, but you’d be shocked at how little kids know about the food they eat, or have simply never given it much thought before.


Pizza was a common favorite food. As were tacos. I said my favorite food was crab legs, which is definitely a true statement, but I love guacamole, English toffee, and tacos just as much.

That’s a lie. I think I love anything Mexican just as much. Tacos, enchiladas, tamales…the list goes on.

We’re having guests tomorrow night and rather than trying to decide what everyone would like, including a school-aged young girl, I opted for BYOBs (build-your-own burrito bowls). When you can add, or not add, whatever you like, there’s no going wrong. Plus, I can throw the meat in the crock pot before work and only worry about the rice (a big enough challenge for me, not to worry), guacamole, and perhaps some margaritas. We’ll see ;)


I digress. Mexican food. I love it. Who doesn’t?

My staff make fun of me because if it were up to me and me alone to make the cafe menu each week at the hospital, we’d be eating Mexican at least 3-4 days a week. The interesting part is that when we make homemade guacamole and homemade salsa, the cafe is the busiest. My coworkers love Mexican food, too, is my message here. We’ve even made lentil tacos and were able to win over some meat-loving hearts.

This take on the lentil taco include corn (swoon) and just a touch of cilantro. I kept these super simple, light, and healthy…while still being incredibly delicious, as well as vegan and gluten-free!


Lentil and Corn Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 5
You won't miss the meat in this healthy taco twist!
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. In a nonstick sauce pan, heat oil until hot. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover and stir in corn; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened and corn is hot.
  3. Serve hot lentils and corn in taco shells, topped with cilantro and other favorite toppings.
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Healthy and these lentil tacos
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 267 Fat: 3.0 Carbohydrates: 48.8 Sugar: 7.0 Sodium: 223 Fiber: 13.6 Protein: 11.2 Cholesterol: 0

 I hope this week flies by. I miss the weekend already :(

Be well,


Baby Potato Salad + Weekly Menu


Who doesn’t love a good potato salad? If you don’t, I must seriously question your taste in food. Sorry, no offense.

A while back, I polled readers to ask if they enjoyed when I post my weekly menu. The response was overwhelmingly, “YES!” and indeed, Sundays (Weekly Menu day) are busy on my blog. Much more so than, say, Friday, when apparently everyone starts their weekends early, or can’t bear to surf the web while enjoying their morning cup of coffee.

Interesting, Mondays are busy, too. People must not be ready to go into work mode. ;)


My favorite day to see where y’all click is Sundays — I get to see what recipes you want to check out most from my weekly menu. Generally, there’s one of the recipes that far and away receives more click love than the others. The curious part is that I can never figure out which recipe readers will gravitate towards.

{My guess this week: Ground Lamb and Hummus Pita “Pizzas”}

Last week, the winner was the Baby Potato Salad. This fact supports my statement that anyone with good taste in food loves a good potato salad. Right? Right.


My mom attests to the probable fact that my Grannie made the best potato salad. It was really good. It was really unhealthy.

I play for Team Mayonnaise and am of the opinion that mayonnaise can make many recipes better. The interesting thing is that even though I had to learn to make mayonnaise in food labs during college, I’ve not made it at home since.

I’ve been missing out.

With one egg yolk and some elbow grease, you can whip heart healthy olive oil into a Dijon mayonnaise to make this oh-so-simple potato salad. It’s embarrassingly easy, yet very chic, healthy, and of course, delicious.


Baby Potato Salad + Weekly Menu
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This "mayonnaise-like" base is full of heart-healthy fats and great flavor for Dijon mustard and chives.
  • 2 lbs baby potatoes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to cover by 2 inches; season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes. Drain and let potatoes and allow to cool slightly.
  2. While potatoes are cooling, whisk egg yolk and vinegar in a large bowl; season with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil, drop by drop at first, and whisk until mayonnaise is thick and creamy. Whisk in mustard.
  3. Add warm potatoes to bowl with mayonnaise and toss to coat. Fold in chives just before serving.
Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
Nutrition Information
Serving size: heaping ½ cup Calories: 161 Fat: 9.5 Carbohydrates: 15.1 Sodium: 192 Fiber: 1.0 Protein: 2.4 Cholesterol: 26

Weekly Menu: July 21st – July 25th

I can’t seem to put down the book I’ve been reading – Divergent. I think I’ll be cookbooking and having a date with the hammock and my book today :)

Be well,


Spiced Salmon Kebabs


Happy Fourth of July!

We saw fireworks last night in a neighboring town. They were good, but I guess I’m just not the type to get all sorts of excited over fireworks. I also enjoy the ones that have the delayed, very loud BOOM. Yeah, the ones that drive dogs into a sense of complete and utter horror, my Lily included. I like those the best.

What would make the 4th better is if I had Friday off, too. It’s this weird sense of don’t get too excited about this time off, Nicole…it will be short-lived with another work day ahead of you. For those of you with Friday off – I’m jealous.


I could have Friday off, so I shouldn’t be so hateful about it. But a day at work with no meetings and very few people around the hospital (other than patients, of course), will make for a day conducive to getting things crossed off my to-do list. It’s never a good thing when you have to scroll through your “reminder flags” in Outlook to see the 45 items that have a due date of this week and next. The items with a due date of last week….well, crap.

If I can leave work tomorrow knowing that I was able to accomplish a lot, it will be a day of PTO wisely not taken.


I’m not sure if we have plans of grilling out today, but I am sure it’ll be squeezed in between my run that will undoubtedly be a disaster after 3 (unplanned) rest days, raspberry picking, a fire down on the beach, and my desperate need to try my hand at a few recipes for cookbook #2. I have a lot of really over-ripe bananas that are churning my creative juices…

{32 days until cookbook #1 is released – eeeeep!!!}

For those of you throwing stuff on the grill today, tomorrow (sigh), or this weekend, have you considered salmon? Salmon kebabs? I certainly hadn’t either. Let me tell you, though…you won’t be disappointed. Between the lemon slices sandwiching the salmon and the earthy spice mix, this recipe is true summer greatness!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Spiced Salmon Kebabs
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Try something new on a skewer!
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ lbs skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to combine; set aside.
  3. Thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 6 pairs of parallel skewers to make 6 kebabs total. Brush kebabs with oil and sprinkle with reserved spice mixture.
  4. Grill, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, 5–8 minutes.
Recipe from Bon Appetit
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 kebab Calories: 236 Fat: 10.7 Carbohydrates: 1.5 Sugar: 0.2 Sodium: 299 Fiber: 0.5 Protein: 32.0 Cholesterol: 83

 Two weeks ago – cherry picking. Last week – strawberry picking. This week – raspberry picking. Have I mentioned how much I love Michigan in summer? I won’t even complain about the chilly beach temperatures ;)

Happy Fourth of July to you and yours! Be safe!

Be well,


Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce


Austin has been amazing. And hot. And delicious.

I’ve met new friends, seen old friends, and unfortunately, had my allergies waking up my roomies with my snores.

last night I had poached goat that was out of this world, and a soft shell crab that was almost too cute to eat. Almost. I washed it down with an IPA and a rich bite of panna cotta.

Life is good.


I am insanely jealous of Austin’s Whole Foods that is an entire city block and then some. I’ve people-watched more than I have in ages. #stayweirdaustin. Oh so fun.

I saw Ree Drummund buzz through the lobby of the hotel yesterday afternoon. I was too shy to say hi and snap a photo with her. Maybe today. I mean, she’s an Oklahomian…I have to.

I will blow UP Twitter and Instagram with delicious eats. They’re too good not to share and remember.


Not sure what else the day will bring other than more heat, more food, and more learning how to blog best. All good things.

Before I run off for my 5 minutes of bathroom time in this small hotel room full of women, here’s something foodies would fancy. Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce.

Chic without the effort. How Austin is that?



Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce from

2 cups champagne 1 shallot, chopped 3 sprigs fresh dill 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 3 (5 oz) salmon fillets

2 shallots, minced 1/2 cup champagne 1/3 cup heavy cream 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1/4 tsp salt 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp champagne vinegar


Add the Champagne, shallots, dill sprigs, salt, and pepper to a skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the fish to the pan and spoon the poaching liquid over them. Cook uncovered until the salmon is firm and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan using a slotted spatula.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the shallots and champagne. Bring to a boil and cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about 4-6 minutes. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil and simmer until cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon, and is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt, pepper, and vinegar and serve immediately over salmon.

Yield: 3 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 449 calories; 25.0 g. fat; 140 mg. cholesterol; 399 mg. sodium; 4.7 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 41.0 g. protein; 0 g. sugar

Result: This salmon tops my list of favorites! Poaching is a favorite cooking method and the champagne is so elegant and light…perfect for summer!


Off I go!

Be well,