The Perfect Avocado Toast

You heard me. Perfect.

Now, I will admit, the word is subjective, so if you like your toast soft, toast the bread for less time. This is my version of ‘perfect’, and I bet that if you try it this way first, then decide what your version of the word is, then, well, that’s even more perfect!2016-07-16 10.52.55

There are a lot of jokes out there about avocados. My favorite one is that, by the time you’re ready to use one, it’s gone bad already. Can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to us, although it’s been rare since we became vegan since we eat everything before it even has the chance to get too old to eat. We buy so much of our organic produce from Costco because of that, and usually we’re waiting for an avo to ripen and, once it does, it’s in our bellies immediately.

Hint: To keep your avocados from ripening too soon, keep them in the fridge and check on them daily to eat them at their peak!

Believe it or not, you can add the best toppings in the world to your avocado toast, but if your bread is sub-par, your toast will be, too. Invest in a nice artisan sourdough or french, and go crazy.2016-07-16 10.50.17

I like my bread crispy on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside, having a nice contrast with the smooth avocado and crispy toppings (not pictured).

Seriously, avocado toast is a God-send. No matter how hungry you are or what time of day it is, it’s always a good idea, is delicious, and super healthy for you! 2016-07-16 10.56.45

Toast your bread after drizzling on some olive oil, or just toast it if avoiding oil.

Mash your avocado, leaving some chunks in tact if desired. Mix your avocado with a pinch of the following:

garlic powder
onion powder
cayenne pepper
21 seasoning salute (Trader Joe’s – get this.)
sea salt
black pepper
optional:
lime juice
shallot
garlic cloves

Top toast with avocado mash. Add sliced tomatoes, red onion, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of pink himalayan salt.2016-07-16 11.05.24

That’s it! Pair with some Roasted Rosemary Sea Salt Potatoes (recipe coming soon!) or a big, leafy salad. This one’s a great add to a brunch menu, too 😉

Do you have a unique way to make your avocado toast? Let’s hear it! We’re always ready to try something new when it comes to our favorites.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins with Citrus Sugar

I’ve been on a baking streak this week (wait until you hear about what I’ve discovered as the literal, no-joke, not even kidding slightly, best walnut chocolate chip cookies everrrr. But first…) and loving every darn second of it! I used to bake in college almost every week – cookies, cakes, cupcakes – but I’d spend so much time in the kitchen that I didn’t even want to eat all of what I made. Luckily now I work somewhere where everyone loves food and is always willing to eat whatever I make.

Note: the cookies I’ve mentioned will have to be made again to supply my office with goodies… we ate the entire batch, just me and my fiancé, within 3 days.

So anyway, these muffins…2016-07-10 10.33.07

I recently purchased Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour, curious of how it’d hold up in baking, and I was quite pleased with the results. I’m by no means gluten-free, and we don’t suffer from celiac disease thankfully, but in my experience, gluten-free baked goods have always disappointed me. They were always dense, bland and boring. I’m glad I purchased this flour, because it surprised me how fluffy, moist and delicious it made these muffins. I adapted my recipe from the Scrumptious Blueberry Muffins recipe on the back of the flour bag, and veganized the heck out of it with flax eggs, Earth Balance butter & coconut milk.2016-07-10 09.15.50

I’ve become so used to having to substitute plant-based ingredients for standard animal-based ingredients that I’ve stopped searching solely for vegan recipes. It’s quite simple, really, once you realize that most baking calls for eggs, butter and milk, which can all be fabulously substituted with flax or chia eggs, applesauce, vegan butter and nut milks. Ah, plant-based living at its finest! For this recipe, we had just enough fresh blueberries in the fridge, and the rest were frozen – it most likely wouldn’t have made a big difference, but fresh is always better (even though our frozen ones were fresh, at one point)!2016-07-10 09.08.12

Have I mentioned how much I love flax eggs…?? They are so cool to me. [nerd]

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Plus, I know I’m eating such a healthy miracle plant, instead of death and cholesterol!

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These are actually labeled as ‘buttermilk’ blueberry muffins, as the original recipe calls for it, so I put a few teaspoons of lemon juice in the coconut milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes while I greased the pans.

I also had the bright idea (seriously, it was a great one if I do say so myself!) to mix some cane sugar with lemon rind for the topping, hence the ‘Citrus Sugar’ in the recipe title. I had ‘Sugar… Aw, Honey, Honey’ in my head the entire time I was making these.

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Finally, the finished product:

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Just look at how fluffy they are, and the warm, sweet and tart blueberries combined with the equally sweet and extra tart sunshine of the lemon sugar… too bad we ate all of them, I’m craving one right now!


 

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins with Citrus Sugar

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: some baking experience will help
  • Print

Fluffy, moist, delicious blueberry muffins perfect for a brunch, a quick munch, or just because. Lemon rind adds a bright, tart contrast to the sweet berries.

Ingredients

Citrus Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest

Directions

  1. Grease a muffin or cupcake pan with plant-based butter spread or your favorite baking spray. Preheat your oven to 425° F [I say to do this after only because my oven doesn’t take 20 minutes to pre-heat and I try to save as much energy as I can! If you’d like to wait to pre-heat the oven until you make the ‘buttermilk’, you have enough time at this point.]
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. To make the ‘buttermilk’, pour the 1/2 cup nut milk into a small bowl or measuring cup, then add the 3 tsp of lemon juice to the nut milk. Let this sit for 5 minutes.
  4. To make the Citrus Sugar, zest 1/2-1 lemon, depending on desired amount of sugar required for topping. Finely chop the zest and add to cane sugar, pressing the zest into the sugar forcefully with the back of a spoon until fragrant.
  5. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well incorporated and fluffy. Add half of the flax egg mixture, or one ‘egg’, at a time, beating after each. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture, beating until blended. Add the ‘buttermilk’ mixture, beat, then finally add remaining dry ingredients. Beat until blended.
  6. Add the fresh blueberries to the muffin batter and fold in, careful to not disturb the delicate skin of the berries.** Pour batter into muffin or cupcake pan and place in the oven, reducing the heat to 375° F. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, making sure no part of the muffins brown other than the edges. Add citrus sugar and cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. Makes 12 muffins or 24 cupcakes.

Notes:

*I used coconut milk for a richer flavor, but if you don’t have coconut milk, I recommend cashew milk. It’s the creamiest of the other nut milks (almond, soy, hemp), and will help keep the moisture of these muffins at it’s best.

**For an added citrus burst of flavor, add 2 tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped lemon zest to the muffin batter.


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Fruit-tastic Mornings

I’ve been starting every morning with a very large helping of fruit.

It helps that Costco is starting to carry organic, sweet, ripe and ready to eat variations, including strawberries and watermelon. We were very close to stopping our purchases of watermelons since the recent ones we’ve bought were basically tasteless, barely red at peak ripeness, and not juicy in the least bit.

Here we have a bowl of organic strawberries, raspberries and the BEST watermelon we’ve had in AGES, all from Costco. [not an endorsement…]

Having fruit for your first meal, or before any meal, allows your digestive system to refresh itself by processing the fruit sugar quickly and efficiently into fiber, without fermenting (what happens if you have fruit AFTER a meal) or causing gas and bloating. It provides sustained energy until your next meal (normally about an hour or two after eating it for me) with no spike in blood sugar.

It’s a win-win for everyone!


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