Sunday, April 12, 2015

Meatless Monday: Vegan Chocolate Mousse

For the past few Meatless Monday posts I have been floating the idea of working towards making Meatless Monday a dairy and egg -free day. For those who missed the original post, the idea stemmed from a desire to become a more ethical eater.

I proposed starting with small steps. The first week I baked a vegan cake. The next week I made Avocado Mayonnaise. The third week I made a complete one-pot vegan pasta dish

This Meatless Monday I want to share a recipe for a vegan dessert — Avocado Chocolate Mousse.


I can’t recall where I saw the recipe, but it was so simple and sounded so intriguing that I scribbled it down, vowing to try it the next time I had a ripe avocado and didn’t feel like making guacamole.

It calls for just five ingredients:
  • One ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup of raw agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
It takes about a minute to prepare.
  • Halve the avocado and scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor. [Or use a large beaker and a hand-held mixing wand.]
  • Add the other ingredients.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Divide into two serving dishes.
  • Chill thoroughly.

This mousse is deliciously thick and creamy. And I bet an unsuspecting taster would find it impossible to guess the “mystery main ingredient.” 

One word of caution. Agave’s reputation as a healthy substitute for sugar has become somewhat tarnished. Dr. Oz, who once recommended  agave because of its low-glycemic index, now calls for eliminating agave from your diet and using raw honey whenever you need a sweetener. You can read the reasons why in this article

I’ll try that next time, or perhaps maple syrup, the usual sweetener in many paleo recipes. I will let you know how it goes.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse should probably be a “sometime treat” rather than a dietary staple, but everyone needs a dessert now and then. Enjoy.

Happy Meatless Monday!  Have a great week.



On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

Monday, April 6, 2015

Meatless Monday: One Pot Vegan Pasta

For the past few Meatless Monday posts I have been floating the idea of working towards making Meatless Monday a dairy and egg -free day. For those who missed the original post, the idea stemmed from a desire to become a more ethical eater.

I proposed starting with small steps. The first week I baked a vegan cake. The next week I made Avocado Mayonnaise

This week it’s a one, pot vegan meal — “Pasta alla Puttanesca with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts” from Shannon at Yup, it’s Vegan. The recipe is my niece’s response to my daughter-in-law’s call for quick and easy recipes to make at home.

It sounded too good to be true, so I tried it. 

This delicious dish is quick, easy, and made up entirely from items that can be easily stored in your kitchen cupboard. The prep time is 10 minutes, cook time 25 minutes. Here is the link to Shannon’s original recipe

In the pot, ready to cook
I have a few notes/suggestions. [Are you surprised?]
  • I used Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes for extra flavor.
  • Vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved in water can be substituted for stock.
  • Be sure to stir the pasta up from the bottom of the pan, right from the start.
  • You may want to substitute a heavy pot for the skillet, unless your skillet is REALLY large.

This recipe offers the added benefit of conserving water, a particular concern for those living in drought-stricken California where Governor Jerry Brown imposed water restrictions last week. 

For years cooks have debated whether or not the amount of water traditionally used to cook pasta is really necessary. The pasta cooking water ends up being poured down the drain [You can’t turn pasta water into soup stock.] and the larger the pot of water, the more energy is required to bring it to (and keep it at) a boil.

The liquids added to this dish stay in the dish. AND, with just one pot there are fewer dishes to wash.

There is one more bonus as well. If you are serving this to just two adults (even with hearty appetites) you are likely to have leftovers. They are excellent when reheated in the microwave, just the sort of meal new parents need! 

Come back next week for a good for a 60 second vegan dessert certain to please almost everyone.

Happy Meatless Monday!  Have a great week.


On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Counting Down to Earth Day 2015

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” – Dakota Nation

Original 1970 Earth Day logo

Earth Day 2015 is just days away. How do you plan to observe it?

Once again my husband Don and I have pledged to ride in New Haven’s Annual Earth Day Ride, better known as “Rock to Rock,” taking place this year on Saturday, April 25.

Riders pledge to complete an 8-mile, 12-mile, 20-mile, 40-mile, or metric century routes and solicit donations for some two dozen local environmental groups. All rides begin at West Rock and end at East Rock, hence the name “Rock to Rock.”

In its first year, 300 riders raised about $10,000 overall. Last year 1,100 riders registered, and despite a cold, driving rain, 700 still showed up to complete the ride to East Rock, raising $150,000. Organizers hope that this year’s event, the 7th Annual Earth Day Ride, will have 1,500 riders and raise $200,000.

Nicely wrapped prize!
You can read more about Rock to Rock in this story in the New Haven Independent covering the February 6 launch party. I signed up that night and my name was drawn as the lucky winner of 25 tokens to the CitySeed farmers market!

We ride for the Urban Resources Initiative (URI), Team Lorax. URI has planted thousands of trees in New Haven through its Community Greenspace and GreenSkills programs. 

This year our ride has a special significance: we will be riding for the first time as grandparents! We hope you will consider supporting us in our quest to make the world a better place for all future generations.



Thanks for your support. Keep your fingers crossed that my good luck continues and that we have sunny skies on April 25.


Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall  being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).