Tackle Spring Fever with Avocado and White Bean Salad ~ and a Healthy Dose of Friendship

Avocado and White Bean Salad

Avocado is by far my favorite food. The taste and texture is luxurious and it is packed with healthy properties.

Avocado is by far my favorite food. The taste and texture is luxurious and it is packed with healthy properties.

 

“…the avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.” 
— David Fairchild

 

 

This post comes to you straight from snow day #9. Yes, that is correct. NINE snow days and I have a feeling that it will not be the last. This morning when we opened our family room drapes we were faced with a hulking drift of snow.

March Madness defined.

March Madness defined.

Our poor little house engulfed in snow banks

Our poor little house engulfed in snow banks

Though we live in town, our house is nearly obscured from the road. Mike had to fire up the snow blower so he could get to his classes at Northern Michigan University (they opened up campus at noon today). Strangely enough it is the first day back to classes after Spring Break. Obviously, Mother Nature did not get the memo.

As the Upper Peninsula digs out from an early St. Patrick’s Day 

Mike takes a break from snow plowing with his best friend, Phoebe. He just finished telling me that if I had a Subaru (like he does) instead of a Jeep that there would be no need for snow blowing our drive. ;)

Mike, with his best friend Phoebe,  takes a break from snow blowing. He just finished telling me that if I had a Subaru (like he does) instead of a Jeep that there would be no need for snow blowing our drive. 😉

storm, I took advantage of another day to decompress, grade, read, and write. I also made a comforting and filling pot of Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili (recipe will be shared at the end of my post).

I am always thankful for time off to reflect and recommit to my healthy goals. This weekend Mike and I made time for each other on Saturday. We had a lunch date and after going grocery shopping decided to enjoy a walk in snowy Marquette and spontaneously stopped at a few local establishments.

Mike took this photo from the North Star Lounge at The Landmark Inn with the panoramic feature on his iPhone 5.

Mike took this photo from the North Star Lounge at The Landmark Inn with the panoramic feature on his iPhone 5.

Another cool photo of Marquette. In the distance you can see the historic ore dock. ~Photo by Mike Laitinen

Another cool photo of Marquette. In the distance you can see the historic ore dock.
~Photo by Mike Laitinen

While traipsing around we were thrilled when we ran into my friend Paula Diedrich and her husband Todd. Paula and I have been keeping each other accountable to blogging. We have been friends for over a decade and have traveled and worked on many projects together with the Upper Peninsula Writing Project. Paula exhibits endless energy as a dedicated mom, wife, writer, educator, student teacher mentor, leader of professional development workshops, and in 2013 launched her fantastic new blog, Hat of Many Colors.

You can tell by the smiles on both of our faces how much a night out with friends was appreciated. ~Photo by Todd Diedrich

You can tell by the smiles on both of our faces how much a night out with friends was appreciated. ~Photo by Todd Diedrich

I am thankful for Paula’s encouragement and I think that having a support network is so important in achieving goals. This holds true with my writing, teaching, and my Weight Watchers journey.

I have so many ideas for future blog posts and the key is to MAKE time to write. It is fulfilling to know that people are reading my posts and that I can share tips and recipes. Today’s post is a recipe that I tried for my WW group’s February Recipe Round-Up and comes from one of my favorite Vegan blogs, Healthy. Happy. Life. When I saw Kathy Patalsky’s recipe for Veggie-Loaded Avocado White Bean Salad on Toast I was in awe. Kathy’s photos are stunning and really brought the salad to life. The recipe was a keeper and I cannot wait to experiment with different variations. Kathy’s recipe kept in the refrigerator for quite a few days and made a fine lunch option and I had it for dinner with a cup of soup.

All the ingredients for this hearty and satisfying salad.

All the ingredients for this hearty and satisfying salad.

  • 1 16 oz. can drained and rinsed beans (Kathy’s recipe calls for cannellini but I only had garbanzo beans on hand. They worked well in the recipe. Next time I will use cannellini beans since they are softer.)100_0981
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spinach, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (I used raw apple cider vinegar and added extra since I like my food very tangy)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (I used a few tablespoons of lime juice)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh tangerine or orange juice and a pinch of zest (I used orange)
  • 2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon hemp or sunflower seeds (I used hemp seeds)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Kathy’s recipe also calls for 2 tsp white miso paste. I did not have any on hand so I used a couple splashes of low sodium soy sauce.If you do not follow a plant based meal plan, you could sub out the nutritional yeast and/or hemp seeds for some plain fat free Greek yogurt.

The recipe rendered four ~ 1/2 cup servings. WW members can run through the Recipe Builder for Point Plus totals. While avocado may be a bit “pointy” I think that it is PP well spent since avocado contains so many healthy nutrients.

I used a fork to mash the beans.

I used a fork to mash the beans.

I added the avocado and mashed them in well.

I added the avocado and mashed them in well.

Chop up the onion and carrot.

Chop up the onion and carrot.

Fold in the onion and carrot to the bean and avocado mixture.

Fold in the onion and carrot to the bean and avocado mixture.

Add the Hemp Seed and Nutritional Yeast

Add the Hemp Seed and Nutritional Yeast

I love my Microplane for citrus zest.

I love my Microplane for citrus zest.

Add the zest, orange juice, and vinegar.

Add the zest, orange juice, and vinegar.

I use pink Himalayan salt.  We purchased this Himalayan salt lantern at the Rusted Buffalo in Asheville, North Carolina. It is said to have many air purification properties and I love the glow it imparts on the room.

I use pink Himalayan salt. We purchased this Himalayan salt lantern at the Rusted Buffalo in Asheville, North Carolina. It is said to have many air purification properties and I love the glow it imparts on the room.

I toasted up a piece of Ezekiel bread to serve the Avocado and White Bean salad on. This bread is amazing, filling, high in protein, and contains no added sugar.

I toasted up a piece of Ezekiel bread to serve the Avocado and White Bean salad on. This bread is amazing, filling, high in protein, and contains no added sugar.

This salad looks as good as it tastes.

This salad looks as good as it tastes.

I cannot wait to try this again. I think it would be delicious with fresh cilantro.

I cannot wait to try this again. I think it would be delicious with fresh cilantro.

Even when I am eating alone I love to make up a fancy plate. They say that we feast with our eyes first.

Even when I am eating alone I love to make up a fancy plate. They say that we feast with our eyes first.

Athena our kitty was napping the day that I snapped these photos. I guess Phoebe decided that she would be in the stand-in photo bomber. ;)

Athena our kitty was napping the day that I snapped these photos. I guess Phoebe decided that she would be in the stand-in photo bomber. 😉

I tried this recipe on February 22nd and I was already experiencing a major case of spring fever. I dusted off some rose colored Fiestaware from my collection and had daydreams of pink flowers: tulips, bleeding hearts, lilies, and peonies. Until May or June (or maybe July), I suppose these pretty dishes will have to do!

Pink Fiesta Tower

Pink Fiesta Tower

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Today I made a large pot of the recipe I came up with for Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili. It is one of my favorite “healthy comfort foods” and Mike loves it as well.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Sautee the following in 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (or oil of choice)

  •   1 cup chopped onion     
  •  2 cups chopped celery   
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic     
  • 1 green bell pepper

Add the following:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes (I used a small can of Rotel with green chilis and my mom’s garden tomatoes)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups diced sweet potato
  • 2 cups corn
  • 6 cups cooked black beans
  • chili power, salt, and pepper to taste
  • simmer for 45-60 minutesToday I also added whole wheat elbow macaroni to the chili to bulk it up.

I serve this chili with freshly chopped cilantro, a squirt of lime, and cubed avocado. You could also add a dollop of sour cream or Plain FF Greek yogurt, and/or cheese.This recipe produces 15 one cup servings.

I wish I could end my post by saying that spring is right around the corner. Unfortunately, that may not be the case for the U.P. of Michigan. Though we know that eventually the warm weather will find us. Until then we must find ways to keep hope in our hearts. Nourish yourself with healthy food and make an eye-catching presentation with a pretty dishes and/or place setting. Stop, savor, and enjoy every bite. For even more enjoyment, share your feast with a friend. I am so happy that Mike and I ran into Paula and Todd this weekend. As Paula said,  it was “a chance meeting with so many good things as a result.” We are thankful for our network of support and the blessings that are bestowed on us. We will have to make time to get together soon!

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2 thoughts on “Tackle Spring Fever with Avocado and White Bean Salad ~ and a Healthy Dose of Friendship

  1. Amy, I am thankful for your friendship and healthful living. You have inspired me in many ways. As for our unplanned meeting, I’m just a little concerned about how quickly and easily our husbands became friends. 🙂

    • Paula, I am so thankful to you for the very same reasons. It was funny how quickly they became friends. We will have to get together again soon. 🙂

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