Well, hello, A to Z Challenge. So we meet again....
This is my third year participating in the Challenge, and I am revisiting my theme from last year: Pinterest Challenges. (Double the Challenge, double the fun.)
For the first day of the Challenge, I explored the avocado.
I am not a fan of avocados.
I think guacamole is just meh. Not worth the calories. Just give me some chips and salsa or, better yet, chips and queso (TOTALLY worth the calories). And slices of avocado on a sandwich or burger? Pass.
Then last summer, when I was visiting Marian Days (an annual festival in a neighboring town that is a pilgrimage for Vietnamese American Catholics and brings 70,000 of them to the grounds of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix headquarters) with my friend Kristi, we stopped for a boba smoothie, which is one of my favorite Marian Days treats (next to pho). While we waited in line and my friend debated which flavor of smoothie she wanted (I go safe and have strawberry), a Vietnamese woman in front of us recommended the avocado smoothie. She saw our (my) lips curl slightly, and she informed us that avocados are a fruit and treated as such in Vietnam, and we would not be disappointed in the avocado smoothie. Picky eater that I am, I stuck with strawberry, but Kristi took the plunge and ordered avocado, and you know what? It was DELICIOUS!
|Brave Kristi with her avocado boba smoothie.|
Picky Dyanne with strawberry.
I was messing around on Pinterest and looking for a Vietnamese avocado smoothie recipe when I ran across this:
The ingredients are vanilla Greek yogurt, half an avocado, a frozen banana, milk, honey for sweetening, and Dutch process cocoa.
I didn't have Dutch process cocoa. I looked for it at Walmart, both the Super Center and the Neighborhood Market, and at the other grocery store in town. No Dutch process cocoa to be found. Was it really necessary to use it? I mean, really, what's the difference?
Googled it. There's a difference. I won't bore you with the details (you can read it yourself here), but regular cocoa (like Hershey's) is naturally acidic, and Dutch processing neutralizes that acidity. That was all moot when I couldn't lay my hands on Dutch processed cocoa, though, so I made my smoothie with the regular stuff.
For starters, it took a great deal more than the 3 tablespoons of milk the recipe called for to get a drinkable consistency. The vanilla yogurt had sugar in it, but those 2 tablespoons of cocoa were very, very bitter. Very. I added Stevia, as I don't care much for honey AND because I was trying to keep some semblance of healthfulness with the recipe, but I still couldn't get rid of the bitterness. I tried to drink it, and my husband tried to drink it, but there was no saving it. This stuff was nasty.
Now, I didn't feel like I gave the Pinterest pin a fair shake, since I didn't use the right cocoa, so I continued my search for Dutch process cocoa by visiting Fox Farm Foods, a local store that carries imported Asian foods and gluten free and dairy free and other earthy/nutty/crunchy food items, plus vitamins and supplements, and THEY HAD DUTCH PROCESS COCOA. The catch was that it was sold in bulk to the tune of $1.49 AN OUNCE *cough* so I bought JUST ENOUGH and tried the Challenge again.
Yes, Virginia, there is a HUGE difference in the two types of cocoa. However, even without AS MUCH of the bitterness of the regular cocoa, the flavor was overpowering (two tablespoons is a LOT of cocoa for such a small recipe) and the smoothie was anything but sweet. By this time, I decided there was no point in pretending this was a healthy smoothie, as one-fifth of an avocado is considered a serving and contains 50 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. So a whole avocado would have 250 calories and 22.5 grams of fat. I used a whole avocado, as the one I bought was pretty dinky, so that's a hella lot of calories and fat to start worrying about how healthful it was going to be, and I decided to screw the Stevia and go straight for sugar.
It took nearly half a cup of sugar to get the stuff palatable.
The smoothie was certainly creamy, thanks to the avocado, but not ice creamy. More cold creamy, although it looked just like a chocolate shake. If I were to be honest, I'd say it felt about like drinking latex paint (old paint that has thickened up some in the can).
|The ingredients, pre-blend. Mmmm....|
My husband hated it.
I drank it all, because $1.49 AN OUNCE.
I'm going to go with Pinterest fail on this. But that's just me. You try it and let me know.