I am happy to report that I am finally back to normal, well, as normal as I get. We had a wonderful, extended vacation in Southern California. We toured a bunch of places, ate a lot of vegetarian food, did a lot of nothing and generally had a great time. My husband golfed, I read and we soaked up the colors of nature and lots of sunshine. We went as far south as we could go and looked into Mexico and drove through mountains with some scary, switchback roads that led to amazing views. We saw desert blooms that only come out once every decade or so and learned about dates (if you find yourself near Shield Date Gardens, be sure to watch the movie, Sex Life of a Date and split a date shake with whomever you are with). Overall, a good experience.
Sunrise from our room. Great place to have coffee!
I have always loved California. The weather, the attitude and the scenery are just amazing. You can see snow capped mountains and the ocean all within a few hours drive of each other. I love to remember all the things I have seen and done while in California (my husband and I were engaged on Catalina Island 12 years ago). There is one thing, though, that makes me long to be back there. As we drove around we would see signs for road side stands that proclaimed 15 avocados/$5. I love avocados so much I feel they should be their own food group. I could eat one every day. Whenever you see the term California on a menu to describe a dish, it usually means it includes avocado and I fall for it every time. I put avocado on salads, in sandwiches, on chili, on crackers, on toast, on scrambled eggs, on pizza, served as a side dish and sometimes I just eat it scooped right out of the skin with a little salt and lime juice. I make guacamole often (my favorite recipe adds only a few cut up tomatoes, salt, lime and garlic powder). Avocados have been shown to be a great food choice due to the type of fat they contain, among other benefits. Here is a link to an article from the Huffington Post about the different ways avocados are beneficial. So why does the memory of those signs make me want to go back west? Because the cheapest I can find avocados here is $1.25. Each. Usually they are closer to $1.50 or $1.75. My husband and I actually contemplated buying a bag just to have them around for a snack. At 30 cents each, even if we didn't finish them it would not be a bad deal. But then we realized that every time we went out to eat we got avocado on whatever we ate. If we added in another as a snack that would be a lot of avocados. And even too much of a good thing is not good for you. They do contain fat and calories. So we drove by the stands and wondered if the people living nearby know what a great deal they can get.
We always think of the grass as being greener on the other side. But when I went to the Public Market this week and bought 16 apples for $5, I realized we have some great deals here as well!
This week I do not have a formal recipe. I almost always have avocados on hand. One thing to keep in mind is avocados and tomatoes are one of those food pairings that bring out the best in each other. The fat from the avocado helps your body process the lycopene in tomatoes better, which is an important nutrient for many reasons, including cancer prevention. When I need a quick lunch (or breakfast) I will toast a piece of whole grain bread, scoop half an avocado on top, mash it a bit and top with a few cut up tomatoes. Then I sprinkle a little salt or Mexican seasoning (in this case Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning blend) on and lunch is served! This day I had a bowl of soup to round out my meal.