It has been awhile since I have done a “What I’m Loving” post, but I have missed it!  I love finding good round-ups to learn about new blogs and recipes.  I will be choosing a theme to bring to you with each of these posts and the theme to kick us off is avocados!

Sweet or savory, I can’t get enough of the creamy, dreamy texture of avocados and they lend such a subtle flavor to so many dishes.  One of my favorite lunches is mashed avocado on toast with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of chili flakes, salt and pepper.  Here are a few dishes that feature avocado that I cannot wait to try!

Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad from Host the Toast Blog:  Smooth creamy avocado with crispy salty bacon might be a flavor combination that ranks right up there with chocolate and peanut butter for me.  And that is saying a lot.

Baked Avocado Fries with Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce from Eat Drink Love:  I can just imagine the crispy breaded outside of these fries contrasting the creamy inside of avocados, yum!

Avocado Banana Bread from Crazy for Crust:  Can you imagine how moist this bread is with that avocado used as the primary fat source??

Stovetop Avocado Mac & Cheese from Two Peas & Their Pod:  This takes creamy to a whole new level…..

ABCT (Avocado, Bacon, Cheese, Tomato) Sandwich from One Lovely Life:  I much prefer my BLT’s with avocado and the addition of pepperjack cheese would add a nice kick of heat.

What is your favorite way to enjoy avocados?  Links to recipes welcome 🙂

Any theme recommendations for the next edition of What I’m Loving?

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Emily and I have been the best of friends since we started college 11 years ago and were luckily assigned randomly as roommates our freshman year.

You get to know someone very well living in a teeny, tiny dorm room.  And I am so happy to say that Emily was the greatest from day one.  I love that we have stayed so close over the last decade (how old are we??!!)  and have been by each other’s sides for some of the most important events in our lives.

Emily is also the reason that I started out on this little blogging adventure.  I have always admired Emily’s dedication to healthy food and an active lifestyle and her blog, A Nutritionist Eats was  my primary inspiration for starting my blog.  Honestly, without her, I wouldn’t know a plugin from a theme and would never have been able to publish my first post 1 year ago!  How fitting that she would be providing this amazing guest post for me this week!

Mercedes and I go wayyyyy back. Like, freshman-year dorms and then friends forever back. We lived together for a total of 5 years and to say that I miss her dearly since moving to California would be an understatement. If only we had started blogging back when we were roomates! That would have been SO much fun.

 Satisfy my Sweet Tooth is my go-to site when it comes to dessert and baking, because, well, I’m not much of a baker and Mercedes is amazing. I miss testing out her recipes on a regular basis!  It only makes sense for me to share something somewhat healthy today because, well that is what my blog (fresh recipes, nutrition tips and simple ways to live a healthy life) is all about!

Once I try a salad that I like, I continue to make it on a regular basis and then eat it until I’m sick of it. My current favorite is this salad that I’ve been eating ever since my cousin made it for Easter Sunday. The ingredients are simple, the flavors delicious. I like to call it the California Salad for no particular reason other than avocados are abundent here. 🙂

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Thank you Emily!  You are the best!

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I have never loved eggs.  For some reason, if you even present them to me before noon, just the smell makes me a little nauseous.  Which is why it is particularly interesting that I have a new found love for egg salad and deviled eggs.  That’s the great thing about growing older.  So many of our tastes change and we come to enjoy foods that we didn’t care for at all as children.  Some of the other foods I have grown to like are raw bell peppers, raw tomatoes and cilantro.

I am so happy to have found this new adoration for egg salad because it is a great option for weekday lunches.  I get in such a rut and get so tired of turkey wraps.  The egg salad that I made this week is not your grandma’s egg salad. It is all dressed up with southwestern flavors like cilantro, cumin and cayenne pepper.

It seems like everyone has their own twist on egg salad.  I love traditional egg salad with mayo, mustard and some celery for crunch.  One of my other favorites is curried egg salad.  Especially this time of year, egg dishes seem to be popping up all over the blog and magazine world.  I was excited to try this twist on egg salad because I love southwestern flavors.  The cumin and cilantro do not overpower, but just add enough spice and flavor to keep you wanting more.  And instead of the traditional paprika sprinkled over the top of this egg salad, I kicked it up a notch and used cayenne pepper.  It added the same color contrast, but a bit more heat.

What foods or flavors have you come to enjoy in your adult life that you couldn’t have been forced to eat as a child?

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combine egg yolks and mayo, mustard powder, cumin and cilantro

*Note:  I purchased a tube of pre-chopped cilantro because I got tired of buying bunches of cilantro, using a handful and wasting the rest.  I found this tube in the produce section of my grocery store and I love it because now I have cilantro on hand whenever I need it!

combine with chopped egg whites

sprinkle with cayenne pepper and serve on your favorite bread

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As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received some great products from Newman’s Own.  I really like the Newman’s Own products that I have tried and I appreciate that they use natural ingredients.  One staple that is always in my refrigerator is Newman’s Own Lighten Up Italian Dressing with Lemon.  Their dressing is one of the key ingredients of the Antipasto Pasta Salad that I am sharing with you in my video debut!  It’s a recipe that is very customizable to the tastes of you and your family which you know I love!  I hope you enjoy it!

Antipasto Pasta Salad

by Mercedes Porter

Keywords: appetizer entree pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tortellini
  • 3/4 cup Newman’s Own Italian Dressing
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 whole roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pepperoncinis, sliced
  • 1/2 cup boccaccini (miniature mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 pound genoa salami, sliced into strips
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add tortellini and cook until al dente.

Drain pasta and place into serving bowl. Immediately toss with 1/2 cup of the dressing.

Combine all other ingredients with pasta.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup of dressing over pasta salad and toss to coat.

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Try to settle down.  The American Academy of Motion Pictures will be accepting Oscar nominations for several months yet.  😉

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