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Our First Blogiversary

Happy birthday to us!  Happy birthday to us!  Happy birthday Two Saucy Sisterrrrsss!  Happy birthday to us!

But wait a minute- it’s not our birthdays!

You’re right- it’s not.  Today is our 1-year blog anniversary!  It’s our blogiversary! 🙂

Yup, 1 year ago today is when we wrote our very first post.  Wow.  Can you believe its already been a full year?  Where has the time gone?

This year of blogging has been amazing!  We’ve learned so much over the past 12 months it’s hard to know where to begin.  For starters, we both had no idea how to design a blog or even sign up to create one.  We didn’t know anything about widgets, links, tags, or menus.  We knew nothing about how to promote our blog or how to increase page views.  In fact, we didn’t even know if people would be interested in what we had to say or if they would like our recipes at all!  And photography?  Don’t even get us started!  We think it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way from taking poorly-lit, unedited photos on top of our stove.

While we still have a lot (and we mean a lot) of learning and improving to do, we’re really proud of how far we’ve come, and we’re so happy that we decided to make the jump from blog-followers to blog-writers!  So for now, it’s time to celebrate!  And what would a birthday celebration be without cake?

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We think we’ve made it very well-known that Chocolate and Peanut Butter is our favourite combo (remember these pancakes?), so naturally for our first blogiversary we had to make a Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter frosting! 🙂

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Of course, this is a healthy food blog, so this cake is made entirely from bran flakes and vegetables.

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Just kidding! But it is made with all healthy ingredients.

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So how exactly do you go about making a healthy cake, a food that uses sugar, butter and refined flour as it’s main ingredients?

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You start by making some simple substitutions, like whole wheat flour for white flour, for instance. Apple sauce is fantastic because it replaces oil and sugar at the same time. And of course, our favourite natural sweeteners, date paste and honey, fell into the mix as well.

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The other secret to a healthy cake is using some… unconventional ingredients. 😉

Almost all cakes call for butter to make them soft and tender, so we needed to find a healthy substitution that offered fat for tenderizing but not for artery clogging! The obvious (to us) solution? Avocado!

Yes. There is avocado in this cake.

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And then there’s the icing, because let’s face it- cake without icing is not cake.  It’s bread.  But to make healthy icing you need something make it thick and fluffy and give it some structure.  And what ingredient would be better suited to that job than chickpeas?

Yup.  Chickpeas.  We’re convinced that those little legumes were sent from Heaven to be incorporated into any and every recipe imaginable!

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So there it is then.  A delicious chocolate peanut butter cake to celebrate one fantastic year of blogging!  Thank you to everyone who follows us, reads our posts, makes our recipes and leaves us comments.  Thank you to all those who have liked us on Facebook, followed us on Twitter and Pinterest, and to all our family and friends who have supported us during this past year!  We really can’t tell you all how much we appreciate every comment, like, and share.

There will be some changes happening on the blog over the next couple months that we’re really excited about, and we’ll definitely keep you up-to-date as they happen, but all we can say is get ready for a new-and-improved Two Saucy Sisters!

For now though, it’s business as usual.  And chocolate cake 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients:

2.5 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 ripe avocado
1 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. date paste
1 c. milk of choice
1/4 c. maple syrup or honey or agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp white vinegar

For the Icing:

1 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c. peanut butter (not all natural)*
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. honey
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat eggs on medium-high speed. Add in avocado and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and continue beating until fully combined.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir, until just combined.
Spray two 9-inch circular pans with cooking spray and dust with flour. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake on the center rack for 25min, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before icing. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the top. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts and serve.

Store covered in the fridge.

For the icing:

Put all ingredients into a food processor or high power blender and blend until smooth.

*We used the classic Skippy Peanut Butter. If you would like to use all-natural, you can, however the consistency will be drippier and you will have to adjust the sweetener and salt.

Tip: 

To help stack your two layers without the top one sliding off, turn the bottom layer upside down so it’s flat bottom is facing upwards.

~twosaucysisters

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Chocolate Lavender

Last Monday was the 3rd installment of Heather’s Meatless Monday round-up.  It was for the letter D and in this case, D stood for dark chocolate.

And we missed it.

How could we miss the week that was using chocolate as the main ingredient?!?

We knew we had to make up for it this week, so we called out to our facebook friends to give us a little inspiration as to what we should make.  After all, we knew we had to do something pretty spectacular to make up for missing dark chocolate week!

One very devoted follower found a recipe for a dark chocolate tart that looked incredible, and so we set to work make our own Saucy Sister (aka-healthy) version.  We decided while we were at it, we might as well make it with gluten-free and vegan options because nobody is going to want to be left out of this one!

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On top of that, the weather is warming up quickly over here (woohoo!) so we decided in the spirit of summer, we would make this a no-bake creation, becuase who really wants to turn on their oven when it’s hot outside?

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You also might notice the sprigs of lavender on the top- that is no accident!  You see, we are in the midst of preparing our vegetable garden for another season, and we have purchased a number of herbs to plant in pots on the back porch.  One that we are particularly excited about is our lavender plant, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate some fresh summer herbs into our dishes!

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So we give you a No-Bake Chocolate Lavender tart.  The perfect way to start off a summer of baking dessert-making.  And yes, we realize that we failed to follow the rules and make something from one of the participants last week.  Heather, we are very sorry, but we just had to share this recipe!  And I guess we sort of used Laura’s chocolate-avocado idea, didn’t we?  That must count for something, right?

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If you don’t have lavender, you can leave it out and just add a little more water or sweetener, but it really makes this unique, so we highly recommend trying to get your hands on some!

And of course, head over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies to see what everyone else made this week!

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

2 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version)
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. chopped dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1 large avocado
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt (use dairy-free yogurt for vegan version)
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c. hot water + 2 sprigs of lavender
dash of salt

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the oats and nuts and cocoa powder.  Blend for a couple of minutes until the oats and nuts are finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large pieces of dates left.  Add the water and maple syrup and pulse until the mixture comes together and sticks together when punched between the fingers.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with wax paper.  Dump the crust mixture into the plate and press firmly, making sure to press some of the mixture up the sides as well.  Set aside.

Place the lavender in the 1/4 c. of hot water and allow to steep for several minutes.

In your food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt and 2 tbsp of the lavender water.  The rest can either be discarded or kept used in something else.  Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Allow to set in the fridge for at least a couple hours before cutting.

Garnish with fresh sprigs of lavender if you wish.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had chocolate and lavender together?  What are some of your favourite chocolate desserts?  Are you planting a vegetable garden this year?

Word Play

When it comes to food, the term “blackened” is not a descriptor you would typically want to use to describe your dish.  To us, anyways, the word blackened is kind of synonymous with other words like “burnt” or “charred”- doesn’t exactly get your mouth watering, does it?  No, it sort of just leads us to think of another word… “inedible”.

Think about it- blackened cookies, blackened toast, blackened pizza… suddenly you don’t feel well and you’re (cough, cough) “not hungry”, right?

In fact, the term blackened is right up there with words like “wilted”, “fermented” and “sapid” (who knew that word means something tastes good?!?)

Yes, for the most part if your dish is blackened, you probably burnt it and it probably isn’t going to be very, well… sapid.  (There.  We tried using it and we were right- it just sounds weird.)  But there is a time when the term blackened is a good thing.

A very good thing.

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If you hear the word blackened in front of the word salmon, you can forget all of your preconceived notions of what you thought the word meant, erase the images swirling in your mind of charred, dried-out fish, and dive in fork-first!

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Because this salmon is slammin’! (Sorry- we couldn’t resist!)

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But in all seriousness, we may never eat salmon any other way ever again- it was that good.

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There are 2 simple steps to creating this mouth-watering dish, and only about 25 minutes until it is on your plate! The secret to perfectly-done blackened salmon (aka-not burnt) is to sear it in the pan and then finish it off in the oven!  That way you get a crispy outer-layer, but a flaky, succulent inside.

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Succulent. Now there’s a word we want to hear more of!  Or how about delectable, exquisite, or tantalizing? 

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Actually, if there was a word that combines all of those we’d have a dead-ringer!

Delecquitalizing? Tantaquitable? Hmm… maybe we’ll just let the pictures do the talking 😉

Blackened Salmon

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 lb. salmon (you can also use fillets)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt (or garlic powder + a dash of salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

In a small dish, combine all the spices.  Generously coat both sides of the salmon with the spices and gently rub into the flesh.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place the salmon in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are blackened, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blacken the other side.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and move fish from the pan onto the baking sheet.  Bake in the centre of the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is no longer dark pink in the middle and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with avocado-corn salsa (recipe below).

Avocado-Corn Salsa

Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 a large avocado
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small dish and serve.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had anything that’s been “blackened”? What are your favourite food-descriptor words? (We’re always looking to expand our repertoire ;))

A Spring Wish

This weather is crazy! For instance, yesterday: Blizzarding in the morning, sunny and warm enough to run in half-tights in the afternoon. What the heck?!? We are actually going batty over here- Mother Nature needs to get her act together and get spring going. We mean really, it’s March 27th people! Why is it still snowy and struggling to reach temperatures above freezing? There should be little flower buds and a slightly warmer sun by now!

In an effort to gently  encourage spring to come out of it’s shell, we made an early-summer inspired meal for dinner a few nights ago:

DSCN5228Baked Salmon with a Stawberry-Basil Rice Pilaf and Strawberry-Avocado Salsa!

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What’s more summer-y than fresh strawberries? They scream early late-June early-July.
Don’t mind the dying asparagus in the background. Asparagus is another veggie that is so reminiscent of the spring time, however we got a little excited about preparing the rest of the meal and sort of forgot that it was in the oven. Woops!

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Other than the forsaken asparagus, this meal was like a burst of spring even though there’s still snow on the ground. Strawberry+avocado is an unreal combination (have you ever tried strawberry and avocado grilled cheese? If you haven’t, you definitely should!) and so is strawberry+basil, and they all just go so well with the salmon!

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Maybe, if we just boycott winter all together spring will get here faster. Run in shorts and tank-tops, wear strappy sandals…. hmm, maybe we’ll just stick to eating spring/summer-inspired meals!

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Here’s to hoping spring comes out of hiding soon!

Baked Salmon with Strawberry Basil Rice Pilaf and Strawberry Avocado Salsa

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 20min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 filet of salmon
1/2 tsp lemon juice
ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 c. rice + water (amount of water depends on the type of rice you’re using. We used a short-grain brown rice/wild rice mix)
3/4 c. strawberries, chopped
1/2 c. basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp dijon mustard, divided
ground black pepper

1/2 c. strawberries, chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of sea salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Sprinkle salmon with lemon juice and pepper and bake for 10min, or until light pink and flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.
Put chopped strawberries and garlic onto a frying pan and mix with half of the lemon juice and dijon mustard. Cook over medium heat for 3 min, then add the basil. Cook for another 2 minutes or until strawberries have softened. Once the rice is finished cooking, stir the strawberry-basil mixture into the rice, along with the rest of the lemon juice and dijon mustard, and the black pepper.

For the salsa, toss chopped strawberries and avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To serve, put the rice pilaf on the plate first and place salmon over top. Top with the salsa and serve along side your favourite spring veggies!

~twosaucysisters

What ways are you using to escape this prolonged winter weather?

Meatless Monday: Edemame Edition

Happy Meatless Monday Everybody!

 

We got really excited when we found out that this week’s edition of Meatless Monday is edemame beans!  We love edemame beans.  In fact, every time we go out for sushi we always order a big bowl of them as an appetizer.  Steamed and lightly sprinkled with sea salt, they are simply the best!

But of course, we couldn’t just steam them and toss them in a bowl and give that to you as a recipe.  Not for meatless Monday!  No, we knew we had to be a little more creative than that!

So we made soup.

On the last day of summer vacation.

Smokey BBQ Edemame Soup!

There’s probably a rule somewhere about not making soup until after labour day, but when your instincts tell you to make soup, you make soup.  Besides, it was chilled (sort-of) so it doesn’t really count as soup. Well, in our opinions, anyways.

This soup was full of green things, too!  Obviously the primary ingredient was edemame beans, but there were also some green peas and avocado thrown in there, too, for good measure 🙂

This soup was creamy but still with lots of texture, and had lots of great BBQ flavour.  Hot or cold, we think it’s a perfect summer soup.  So on this last day of summer, go ahead and make soup… we won’t judge you 🙂

Oh, and don’t forget to visit Heather at Better With Veggies to check out all the other Meatless Monday Participants!

Smokey BBQ Edemame Soup

Time: 45min- 3hrs (depending on if it is served hot or cold)
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

500g bag of frozen edemame (~4 c.)
2 c. frozen peas
1 avocado
1/2 c. white onion
2 cloves garlic
2 c. veg stock
2 c. water
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 drops liquid smoke
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt
pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30min.  Using a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth. Alternatively, blend soup in a blender. Serve immediately or allow to chill for 1-2 hours.

-twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite way to have edemame?

We’re Turning 20!

So this is it, people.  Today is the day.

The day we leave our teenage years behind.

That’s right, today is our twentieth birthday!

Somehow we have gone from this…

Our 3rd birthday

To this…

In our Birthday Finest!

So it’s time for us to take charge, get responsible… to start moving up in the world! Or… maybe not.

But you know what it is time for?

Cupcakes!

Healthy cupcakes, of course!

When we were trying to come up with a yummy recipe to celebrate our birthday with, we knew we wanted cupcakes.  Be casue really, who doesn’t love an individual-sized cake? Crazy People, that’s who.

Anyways, we created a list of some of our favourite foods that we knew we wanted to include in these cupcakes. It looked a little something like this:

sweet potatoes, avocados, chocolate, bananas, cottage cheese, berries (any kind will do!), coconut, coffee, nut butter, maple syrup.

*NOTE: this list BY FAR does not include all of our favourite foods, but it’s really difficult to incorporate salmon and salsa into cupcakes!

And yes, we did manage to include all of those ingredients in these cupcakes!  We made 2 separate kinds, each with their own secret ingredients ;).

There is a chocolate sweet potato cupcake with pink cream cheese frosting…

…and a pink (beet!) cupcake with chocolate frosting!

And what you can’t see, is the inside of these cupcakes.  For extra decadence (it is our birthday after all!) we filled each cupcake with a creamy, luscious filling!

Pink filling for the chocolate cupcake and chocolate filling for the pink cupcake, of course!

These cupcakes are so healthy, you could eat them for breakfast!  But you’d never know it.  We did a few trial runs to make sure they were just right, and you can be sure our family thoroughly enjoyed being our taste-testers 🙂  We don’t think we’ve ever seen our brothers so happy once they found out that they could eat these cupcakes free of conscience!

Ok, so we know what you’re thinking- it’s your birthday!  Why don’t you indulge a little and have something unhealthy?

Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered- more to come later 😉

So how does it feel being 20?

The exact same as yesterday, when we were nineteen 🙂

But after eating one a few of these cupcakes, 20 is starting to feel pretty good!

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Pink Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 15 min

Bake Time: 20-25 min

Makes: 6 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/3 c. white flour

1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. cooked mashed sweet potato

1/4 c. maple syrup

1 egg, separated

1/2 banana, mashed

1/2 tsp vanilla

For the Filling:

2 tbsp pressed cottage cheese

1 tbsp strawberry jam

1 tbsp “coconut cream” (minus the added extracts)

1/4 banana

1/4 tsp pureed beet

For the Icing:

1/2 250 package pressed cottage cheese

1 tbsp raspberry jam

2 tbsp strawberry jam

1/8th c. vanilla protein powder

1/2 tbsp diced beet

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350C

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients

Separate the egg yolk from the white, and whip the white until it forms stiff peaks.

Combine all other wet ingredients (except egg white) in a separate large bowl.

Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Gently fold in egg white.  Spoon batter into prepare muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the Filling:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Once cupcakes are cool, using a sharp knife cut cone-shaped wedges out of the top of the cupcake like this. Fill with filling and replace the “lid”.

For the Icing:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until blended well.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to ice the cupcakes.

Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Prep: 15 min

Bake time: 25-30 min

Makes: 6 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/4 c. white flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 a medium-sized beat, roasted and cooled

1 egg, separated

1/4 c. maple syrup

1 tbsp raspberry jam

1/2 banana, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

For the Filling:

1/2 broiled banana

1/4 c. pressed cottage cheese

1 tsp chocolate hazelnut butter

2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla

2.5 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp coffee grounds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the Icing:

1/4 c. cocoa

1/8 c. vanilla protein powder

1 tsp coffee grounds

2 tbsp arrowroot flour

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Follow instructions for chocolate cupcakes, except combine wet ingredients in the food processor (except for egg white) and blend until smooth).

For the Filling and Icing:

Follow same directions as for the chocolate cupcakes.

-twosaucysisters

ps- congratulations to Adam van Koeverden for his silver medal in the 1000m kayak, Mark deJonge for his bronze in the 200m kayak, Mark Oldershaw for his bronze in the 1000m canoe, and to our men’s marathon runners Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis, and Dylan Wykes for three amazing runs in the men’s marathon today!

What’s your favourite birthday treat?

A Healthy Addiction

Avocados are something that we basically always have a craving for. It’s one of the most versatile foods out there, and pretty much makes everything better. If we each had a dollar for every time we said “Avocado would be really good on this.” we could probably quit school and go straight to retirement.

We understand that not everyone likes avocados (gasp!) but if you fall into that category, we implore you to give them another chance. There are so many different ways to use them, and they are so so good for you!

These fruits contain so many nutrients, including fibre, potassium, Vitamin E and the B-vitamins, as well as helping the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins.  For more avocado nutrition info, go here [source] <– a whole website dedicated to avocados! We must be in heaven.

We use avocados for so much more than guacamole and you can be sure that they will be making a regular appearance on our blog!

Today we had a craving for two things: Avocado (obviously) and salad (also somewhat of a given).  Our first thought of course was to just slice up an avocado, top it on our salad and be done with it, but instead, we got a little more creative.

  So we made salad dressing instead!  Avocado lime dressing, to be more specific.  Oh Boy was this delicious!  As a matter-of-fact, we believe that this stuff could convert any so-called “avocado-hater”!  Bold statement, yes, but that is how extremely delicious this is.

The flavour is really bright and refreshing, but super creamy at the same time.  It also doesn’t have a really strong avocado-y taste, because of the lime, which is why we think this is a recipe that even people who don’t like avocados could get into.

And you know what else?  It only has 5 ingredients.  5 pretty inexpensive ingredients, too, so it won’t break your bank.

This is probably one of the healthiest salad dressings you will ever eat, and quite possibly one of the most delicious, if we do say so ourselves 😉

Ridiculously easy, ridiculously healthy, ridiculously delicious.  We dare you not to lick the food processor clean!

Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing

Time: 5 min

Makes: 3/4c.

Ingredients:

1/2 ripe avocado

1.5 tbsp lime juice

1/2 c. water

1/2 tsp salt

pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put everything into the food processor (or blender) and blend!

-Twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite way to enjoy avocados?