Ham-Avocado sandwich

Bored with the standard Ham-and-Cheese or BLT sandwich? Dare to try something new and enjoy one of my favorite sandwiches. Introducing the Ham-Avocado sandwich!

Not a daily sandwich for me, but very common in my family. Needless to say that I found it really strange that people would make a face when I told them that the green sandwich I was eating,  actually was an avocado sandwich. A what?  Unbelievable, they never had an avocado sandwich before!  So it’s time to share and have the world eat more avocado sandwiches.

You will need the following:

avocado, peeled and sliced
bread of your choice (I like French bread or croissants)
butter
ham
Romaine lettuce
tomato, sliced thick
black pepper
salt

Toast the bread and spread some butter on both sides to prevent the sandwich from getting soggy. Add some letuce and slices of ham, then top with avocado slices and tomatoes. Finish off with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.  That’s it!  Enjoy your yummy, healthy sandwich.

Here’s a video to illustrate the avocado-sandwich making process with a different recipe. Enjoy!

Embedded video:

Video Recipe: Tomato & Avocado Sandwich by harvesteating

Avocado tip

How do you pick the right avocado?
Everyone has their own technique, but I’ll share what my dad taught us.  He would show us how to “feel” the ripeness of some fruits by applying light pressure, a technique used for avocados as well. Gently press the avocado and if it yields a little (very subtle), you have the right one. If it’s really hard to the touch, you may have to let it ripen for a few days.

Another important factor to determine if the fruit is ripe or will ripen well, is by looking at its form and color. Your avocado should have a smooth skin, no wrinkles, be even-colored with no black spots, and look evenly grown.  Unless you’re looking at a Hass avocado, which has a darker, rougher skin.

How to ripen avocados.
To quickly ripen hard avocados, you can place them in a brown paper bag or wrap in newspapers, keeping them at room temperature. Adding an apple or tomato will speed up the process even more. Be sure to check the avocados daily.

Peeling and cutting an avocado.
Avocados have a large, hard seed at the core, so you will have to cut “around”.  Cut the avocado lengthwise in two by turning the avocado around and keeping you knife steady. Twist the cut sides in opposite direction to release from the core. One half will still have the seed attached, which can be removed by lightly inserting your knife and gently twisting it. This will only work if the avocado has ripened well. Scoop the flesh out in one piece with a spoon, then slice it. Sometimes you can easily pull the peel back.

Avocados should be eaten as soon as they’re peeled and cut. To avoid discoloration, you can sprinkle some lime or lemon juice over the avocado, but keep in mind that this will affect the flavor.

The avocado is very versatile and can be used in salads, on sandwiches, in dips and sometimes even in soups. If you have not tried it before, check out our recipes for a simple avocado sandwich, or a ham-avocado sandwich.

Food for the heart

We hear it on the news all the time: heart disease is the number one worldwide killer of men and women. A shocking statistic is that heart disease -not cancer like most of us think- causes 40 percent of all the deaths in the U.S.A.  However, many times this can be prevented or treated by a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise.

While browsing the Internet last week, I found this interesting article on CNN. It lists the 10 best foods for your heart, and I’m glad to know that I’m on the right path, using 70% of the items on this list. One of my personal goals is to be healthy and fit, and since healthy eating is part of the mix, I wanted to share the article on this blog.

Did you know that oatmeal and olive oil can lower your bad cholesterol? Salmon can lower your bloodpressure and avocado can raise the good cholesterol in your body.  Berries have lots of anti-inflammatories and spinach will make you strong like Popey 🙂  Nuts, legumes and flax seed are a good source of fiber, while soy provides a lean source of protein.

Click the link for more details on the 10 Best Foods for Your Heart.

Since this is a foodblog, I feel like I should share at least one recipe.  Ever had an avocado sandwich? For me it is the next best thing to sliced bread! You only have to make sure that the avocado has ripened well.  See these tips to find out more.

For a simple Avocado Sandwich, you’ll need your favorite bread, ripe avocado (peeled and sliced), butter and freshly ground black pepper and salt.  Toast the bread, spread some butter on it, add the sliced avocado and top off with salt and black pepper. It can’t get any easier, but you will still enjoy a healthy, nontraditional sandwich!

Check out some other avocado recipes here.

Maizena Cookies

(Updated recipe with vanilla extract and replacing “blender” with “mixer” 🙂 )

Maizena cookie
Maizena cookie

Can’t have gluten but craving cookies? Here’s a recipe for you! But beware…. they are very addictive and most people I know can easily eat four to five in the blink of an eye.

Maizena cookies are light, not too sweet and they are gluten-free!
In stead of flour, we use cornstarch which can be found in the baking section of the grocery store.

Baking Maizena cookies
Baking Maizena cookies

These cookies are very popular in Suriname and are usually offered at birthday parties, no matter what cultural background. I am not sure how they originated in Suriname, but it was interesting to find out that similar cookies are made throughout various countries in Latin America. In Brazil they are known as Biscoitos do Maizena where they claim the cookies are from, because Maizena is their brandname for cornstarch. Chile and Argentina have Alfajores de maizena, a “sandwich” of two soft cookies held together by dulce de leche (caramel), and in Mexico  cookies made of the same ingredients are called  Flores de maicena.

If you prefer soft and chewy cookies, these are not for you because Maizena cookies are more on the dry side, although softer than biscuits. They are my favorite cookies but, believe it or not, I don’t bake them very often because I’ll eat too many. Too dangerous to keep in the house!

Snow white Maizena cookies
Snow white Maizena cookies

Makes 60-80 small cornstarch cookies.

1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 lbs of cornstarch
vanilla extract
cookie sprinkles

First cream the butter with a mixer, adding sugar, and after 10 minutes the egg and a few drops of vanilla extract, until sugar has melted completely.

Once the sugar has melted, use a spoon or small measuring cup to gradually blend about one pack of cornstarch into the mix, making sure quantities are fully blended before adding the next spoonful. Do this at the lowest mixer speed or by hand, otherwise starch will be blown all over the place.

Continue adding starch as needed, until the dough is no longer sticky, but still soft enough to use a with cookie press. Dough should not crumble otherwise the cookies cannot be formed or will fall apart before serving.  Use a cookie press or roll small balls (press flat with a fork) to form cookies on a greased cookie sheet.  Decorate with the sprinkles.

Bake cookies in 225-250 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until dry but not browned. These cookies are supposed to be very light colored and higher temperatures will burn them, affecting the taste. You know you got it right when the cookie melts in your mouth!

Enjoy!

P.s. Recipe was adjusted for improved results (03/15).

Mindmap your cooking

A couple of years ago, I found I fun way to generate, plan and organize ideas. It’s called “mindmapping” or “ideamapping”.  Follow this link to read more about how I found out about this.

I have used this technique for a wide variety of things. From business planning to organizing a party, from website planning to dinner planning, mindmapping can be used for almost anything.

One of the reasons I like it so much, is that you can have all the relevant information on one page and quickly overview details of what you are planning. Another reason is using markers, pencils, highlighters for color and graphic images for visuals, which makes the entire process more playful (and have your inner-child come out).  Although, I have to admit that sometimes I don’t use more than one color pen, but the map still gives me what I need.

The map below is an example of how I plan cooking a meal, in this case I used it for Saoto soup.  This soup has a lot of ingredients and it happened in the past that I would forget one or two. Not anymore! The map has everything on it, and there is no way to forget something because it can be used as a checklist as well.  Check it out and let me know what you think about this.

Saoto Soup Mindmap
Saoto Soup Mindmap

To learn more about idea- or mindmapping, you can go to the original website, or use the link to buy the book.

Happy mind-/ideamapping!

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