Avocado Quesadillas and a Fresh Balsamic Lamb’s Lettuce Salad

I really, really like quesadillas.. you know.. those flour tortillas with cheese (and a whole lot of other things, if you want) between them. I like the simplicity of the dish and I really like how easy it is to make them. This time, I had an avocado left that I wanted to use, so I made a quesadilla with an avocado spread and some old cheese. To be totally honest.. I did not know if this combo was any good, but I loved it, so I decided to quickly take a few pictures so that I could share the recipe with you all. I really had to take the pictures QUICKLY, because it had already started getting dark, oops. So sorry for the crappy quality of the pictures!

AVOCADO QUESADILLAS AND A FRESH BALSAMICO SALAD

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THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED (yields two dinner-size servings)
for the quesadillas
- 4 flour tortillas (I used multigrain tortillas)
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 a garlic clove (crushed)
- 1/4 red onion (finely cut)
- pinch of pepper
- fully mature cheese, slices (bought at a specialist store, or cheesemonger, preferably)

for the salad
- 100 gr  lamb’s lettuce
- 2 tomatoes (parts)
- 1 avocado (dices)
- 1/4 red onion (finely cut)
- balsamic vinegar
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of pepper

- skillet (bigger than flour tortillas)
- salad bowl
- small bowl

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THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
1. Mash one avocado in a small bowl.

2. Add crushed garlic and finely cut red onion.

3. Divide the mashed avocado mixture among two flour tortillas.

4. Add sliced cheese and put the other flour tortillas on top, making two ‘tortilla sandwiches’.

5. Heat the skillet (really hot!) and put the quesadillas in the skillet (without oil or butter) one by one and turn them once they start to get brown.

6. Meanwhile, put the lamb’s lettuce in the salad bowl and add the tomatoes, avocado and red onion.

7. Season with sea salt and pepper, and add some balsamic vinegar to taste.

8. Cut the quesadillas in quarters and serve with salad.

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Update & a Lactose and Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Hi everyone!

it’s been almost three months since I last posted something but I’m determined to give you more. This summer has been very fascinating in various ways. First of all… I GRADUATED! After years of hard work I now have completed two programs at the University of Groningen. This time, I graduated as a Master of Science (MSc) in Business Administration and I specialized in Organizational Change. After graduating, I moved from the north of The Netherlands (Groningen) to a slightly smaller town in the middle of the country, called Zwolle. To be honest, I do not know that many people in this town, so I’m starting all over again. I’ve been living here for two months now and I’ve been working part time and I enrolled in a photography course. Now, the course has finished, and I am thinking about taking part in a photography course which focuses on food styling and photography and I started ballet classes last week. Altogether.. a lot is going on. And, all of this happened while the Mr. was away (he’s an officer on a cruise ship). He’ll be back for about ten weeks as from the 21st of September, so I’m ms. impatient at the moment.

And what’s happening with the blog? I want to focus more on simplicity. From now on, I will only post recipes or informational posts related to eating habits, health and nutritional issues. Today, I want to share a recipe for a lactose and gluten free carrot cake I found on Lucy Bee’s website (slightly adapted by me). I started the search for a recipe like this after I had a gluten and dairy free carrot cake at a friend’s birthday. The bakery’s cake was very very very good, but this one … is a good contender. I hope you like it.

CARROT CAKE – LACTOSE & GLUTEN FREE
(photo credits: my photography teacher Gerben Rink)

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WHAT YOU NEED (yields 6-8 servings)
For the cake
- 190 gr coconut oil (room temperature)
- 200-250 gr sugar or replacement (caster sugar is advised, but do take a look at the infographic in this recent post)
- 160 gr (gluten free) plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 60 gr walnuts (chopped)
- 50 gr desiccated coconut
- 150 gr carrot (coarsely grated)
- 2 egg whites

For the icing
- 175 gr (lactose or dairy free) cream cheese (room temperature)
- 60 gr coconut oil (soft, but not liquid)
- 40 gr sweetener of your choice (icing sugar is recommended)
- 1 tbsp liquid honey (or agave syrup)
- walnuts for decoration

- a 20-22 cm loose bottomed cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper
- mixing bowls (multiple)
- mixer
- sieve

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO (procedure exactly like Lucy Bee’s)
For the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C, 325 F, gas mark 3.

2. Place the coconut oil and caster sugar together in a bowl and beat together with a fixed head or hand held electric mixer on a medium speed for 5 minutes until very well incorporated.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together into a bowl and set aside.

4. Beat the large egg and egg yolk together with a fork and slowly beat them into the caster sugar and coconut oil mixture on a slow speed.

5. Fold in the walnuts, desiccated coconut and grated carrot.

6. Lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.

7. Whisk the 2 egg whites at high speed until stiff. Take one tablespoon of the whisked egg whites and stir this into the cake batter to soften it. Then carefully fold in the remaining whisked egg whites until well incorporated.

8. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, approximately.  Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake to test it – it should come out clean if the cake is cooked.

9. Leave the cake in the tin until cool.

For the icing
1. Beat the cream cheese until light in a mixer and set aside.

2. Ensure that the coconut oil is very soft but not liquid and beat it together with the icing sugar and honey (if the coconut oil is too firm it will not incorporate fully with icing sugar. This will also happen if the honey is not liquid enough).

3. Now lightly fold the cream cheese into the coconut oil mixture.

4. Remove the now cooled cake from its tin, place it on a serving plate and spread the top with the icing and decorate with walnuts.

NOTE: if you prefer, you can substitute either the walnuts or desiccated coconut with sultanas.

Corn salad with avocado dressing

One of my goals is to throw away as little food as possible. According to the European Union, about 90 million tones of food is wasted annually in Europe alone. And in industrialized countries, a shocking 40% of food waste happens at the retail and consumer level. So, we can all try to minimize food waste and I think we should keep this in mind when we’re at the supermarket.

But, what to do with an overripe avocado? In all honesty.. I do not really like avocados that are super soft, I like them with a little bite, but I really really didn’t want to throw it away. So, I turned it into a dressing for my corn salad and it turned out to be DELICIOUS!

[klik hier voor het Nederlandse recept]

CORN SALAD WITH AVOCADO DRESSING

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THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED (yields 2 servings)
For the salad
- 200 gr kernels of corn
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 12 cherry tomatoes

For the dressing
- 1 very ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 heaping tbsp cream cheese
- 1 clove of garlic
- sea salt and pepper

- (hand) blender or food processor
- medium sized bowl

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
1. Turn the avocado, cream cheese, garlic, sea salt and pepper into a dressing by using the (hand) blender or food processor.

2. Put the corn, red onion, scallions and cherry tomatoes in a bowl and mix well.

3. Put the avocado dressing on top and enjoy!

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The easiest banana blueberry smoothies

In the next few days (in the Netherlands), temperatures will rise and the Dutch will spend their days in their gardens, at the lake or beach, etc. Not me, though. I’ll stay inside (4th floor, flat roof, save me!) finishing the draft version of my thesis, which has to be handed in next Monday. To enjoy summer just a tiny bit, I made two versions of a super, super easy blueberry smoothie.

[klik hier voor het Nederlandse recept]

BANANA BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIES (1 serving)

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THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED
- 100 mL (vegetable) milk or fresh orange juice
- 1 small banana
- 75 gr blueberries
- optional: ice cubes
- optional: handful of oats

- blender or food processor

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THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
1. Put all ingredients in the blender or food processor. If the smoothie is too thick, add some more (vegetable) milk, orange juice, or even water. If you want to have a cold drink instantly, add some ice cubes. If you want to make your smoothie a meal (breakfast, for example), add a handful of (gluten free) oats.

2. Save the smoothie in the fridge if you want to serve it later or if you want to cool it without using ice cubes.

3. Enjoy!

PS: check this blogpost for a smoothie recipe with banana, pear, and lime!

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Aragula salad with balsamic strawberries and toasted walnuts

Lunch time. I look at a plastic bag in the hallway, given to me by my granddad. The plastic bag is filled with fresh walnuts. Beautiful, delicious walnuts from the walnut tree in my grandparents’ garden. While I am thinking of a way to use them for lunch, I search my kitchen cabinets and the fridge for ingredients to combine them with. This salad is the delicious result of my granddad’s gift and my search for ingredients to combine the walnuts with.

[Klik hier voor het Nederlandse recept]

ARAGULA SALAD WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES AND TOASTED WALNUTS

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THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED (yields 1 serving)
- a handful of aragula/rocket
- a handful of a lettuce mixture of your choice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- some basil leaves (cut
- 5 strawberries
- 5 walnuts (cracked)
- a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

optional ingredients
- 1/2 red onion
- some grated parmesan cheese (for the non-vegan version of the salad, obviously)
- 1 tsp honey (don’t use it if you don’t like the salad to be sweet(er) or if you want it to be vegan)

- small bowl
- medium sized bowl
- skillet

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
1. Take the small bowl and mix the balsamic vinegar, honey and basil leaves.

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2. Slice the strawberries and add them to the small bowl with the balsamic vinegar and honey mixture.

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3. Toast the cracked walnuts in the skillet, over medium heat, for about 3 minutes. Do not let them get burnt!

4. Take a handful of aragula/rocket, and a handful of your other lettuce mixture and put it in the medium-sized bowl. Mix well and sprinkle with olive oil. Also add a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

5. Optional: slice the red onion and add it to the salad.

6. Add the balsamic strawberries and walnut to the aragula/lettuce mixture and mix well.

7. Optional: add grated parmesan cheese.

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