Banana Turmeric Lassi

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So it’s flu season and I’ve got an antioxidant packed , vitamin rich, super healthy and all round delicious lassi for you! This Indian smoothie is sure to keep you safe this flu season and the warm spices will give you that holiday feeling, that’s if you’re not already wearing Christmas sweaters and drinking hot chocolate or sorrel as we do here in Jamaica.

So what’s a lassi? To all who have no clue, I like to liken a lassi to a smoothie; an Indian smoothie. But, it’s really a beverage made with milk, yogurt and spices and sometimes fruit. Fruit lassis are my absolute favourite- I love it with mangoes, oranges, berries and of course bananas! If you are new to my blog, you wouldn’t know that I go bananas for bananas, now you do; they are my ride or die fruit. smile face

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I’ve got dozens of banana tree in my back yard so I’ve always got bananas. My motto is “no banana left behind”, so when there are just too many to eat, I pack them in the freezer and save them for smoothies, gluten free pancakes, cakes, lassis and the like! For this recipe, frozen bananas are best.

Although this lassi is pretty ‘bananary’, I must say that the top ingredients that makes this beverage really sing are the ginger, turmeric and cardamom (oh and they also make this undeniably Indian and so so right for this cooler weather, or cold weather depending on where you are). Not the mention how amazing these spices are; got a bit of gas? Cardamom. Got a cold or the flu? Turmeric. Got a bit of motion sickness? Ginger. Yup, this lassi has got it all and then some!

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I chose to make these lassis with almond milk to keep it a bit lighter but if you wanna go traditional and you aren’t against milk haha, then go for that whole milk experience, you will end up with super fluffy, super smooth lassis. Add some yogurt too, that’ll give that much needed tang to your lassi; I love the tang! It helps to cut right through the spices, which are pretty… in your face. Oh, I also love adding orange zest to help brighten the flavours. If you’ve got super over ripened bananas, you don’t need to add honey but if your bananas are just ripe and you want that touch of sweetness, go ahead and add honey to taste; this recipe really didn’t need it; my bananas where very sweet!

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Lassis are very simple and easy to make, I drop all my ingredients into my blender and wizz away! The result is this smooth, refreshing, spiced and comforting lassi that’ll definitely help fight off any flu! I garnished mine with cinnamon and dried, edible flowers from my mom’s garden which sends this beautiful, sweet scent up from the lassi once you turn your glass to your head, It’s one of my favourite parts of enjoying this lassi and it looks so pretty! smile face

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Please let me know if you try this one! It’s a must have this flu season.

Banana Turmeric Lassi

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

3 frozen bananas

1 small knob ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 pods cardamom, seeds removed

2 heaping spoons of yogurt (about 1 cup)

3 1/2 cups milk of your choice

1/2 teaspoon Orange zest

cinnamon, if desired

dried, edible flowers, if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice the frozen bananas and the knob of ginger, add them to the blender.
  2. Add the turmeric, cardamom seeds, yogurt, milk and orange zest.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into glasses and garnish with cinnamon and dried flowers.
  5. Enjoy!

Special Overnight Oats

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Oats are hands down one of my favourite snacks- my brother and I are obsessed with oats and we use it to make breakfast, snack (lunch) or even dinner items and for the past month or so I have been binging on overnight oats; I carry my oats with fruit to work as a snack pretty much every day. I love the fact that it is filling, full of fibre, yummy and easy on the stomach!

If you grew up in a Jamaican household, you will be all too familiar with Jamaican style porridge, specifically oats porridge; is it delicious? Yes, but ever since I got into overnight oats I never looked back; I must say that the flavour of overnight oats is cleaner, you really taste the oats and all the other ingredients, its not too mushy so you’re getting good texture contrast and it’s overall more appealing to me. If you never too fancied cooked oats, you could try this recipe and see how the uncooked stuff works for you.

I thought it wouldn’t be right for me not to share how I make my favourite snack of the past month and probably one of my faves for this month as well. So here it goes, my Special Overnight Oats.

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The oats are of course the star, so let’s start there. The oats I use are the organic, old fashioned whole oats; these give maximum nutrients and texture, they are the only ones to use in this recipe. Stay far away from the processed stuff. You can pick up proper oats at any health food store here in Jamaica or perhaps a specialty supermarket. If you are in a more health-friendly area of the world, you should be able to find good oats in your regular supermarket.

To soak my oats overnight, I make some spiced almond milk. I simmer my almond milk with cinnamon and nutmeg; this combo really bring it back home to the traditional flavours of porridge and well, it’s perfect for the Autumn season! You can make this milk ahead of time and store it in the fridge, then use it as you like. I usually make it as I need it since sometimes I actually go with straight, plain almond milk then grate the cinnamon and nutmeg over my oats.

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Every time I make overnight oats, I tweak it a bit, for this recipe, I decided to do dual layers of raspberry oats (in an attempt to finish the last bit of my freshly frozen raspberries) and chia seed oats. I divided my oats in two and added raspberry puree (I used frozen raspberries and blended them with some of the spiced almond milk) to one and chia seeds to the other; then I added the spiced milk and mixed them together.

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But, if you forgot to soak your oats overnight, you can warm your milk and pour the milk over the oats and let it soak while you get ready for your day, in a few minutes, it’ll  be just as soft and palatable as overnight oats. If you are dealing with cold milk or you wanna be Mr./Miss prepared then making this from the night before is the way to go. So, after I mixed everything together, this is the point where I refrigerate until morning; I do not add the fruits, only because I much prefer freshly sliced fruit with my oats, but I suppose you can layer up your oats and fruit from the night before.

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In the morning I just finish up; raspberry oats on the bottom, sliced fruit of your choice on top, I used papaya, kiwi, grapes and apples this time around but one of my favourite is actually mashed bananas at the base and the oats over top.

I continue layering up with the two different oats and fruit until I’m at the top of my jar (I use a jar sometimes because it’s so easy to just screw the lid on and go). I add more fruits to the top, some chia seeds and a dollop of almond butter and a lot of honey! And that’s it, delicious and ready to go!

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This recipe, as you can see is super simple and very customizable but I love it mostly because it’s very delicious and clean tasting and it really does keep me full until dinner! I recommend this recipe to anyone who lives life on the go or might prefer uncooked oats.

Special thanks to my new found photographer, Gordon.

Please let me know how you like it!

Special Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This is a quick and easy snack or breakfast item that’s great for on the go. Delicious and nutritious!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2-2 cups almond milk

1 cinnamon stick

nutmeg, grated

1/2 cup raspberries

3 cups organic, old fashioned whole oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds, plus more for top

sliced fruits

1 teaspoon almond butter

honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a sauce pan, simmer almond milk with cinnamon stick and nutmeg until the milk is infused. The milk will reduce a bit.
  2. Add raspberries to a blender with a bit of the almond milk and puree to a smooth consistency.
  3. Divide the oats in half and add the chia seeds to one half and the raspberry puree to the other.
  4. Add some almond milk to the chia seeds oats until the liquid covers the oats by the tiniest bit. Add milk to the raspberry oats as needed to cover the oats just a bit as well.
  5. Let sit in refrigerator overnight.
  6. In the morning, layer up the oats and fruits in a jar, I started with the raspberry oats layer first and alternated between the fruits and chia seeds oats.
  7. Add more fruit on top with almond butter and lots of honey and chia seeds.

I hope you shine today!heart

Beetroot Bread

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Have you ever seen bread baking in an oven? If you haven’t, just imagine two solar systems colliding together in an explosion of light and imagine the feeling you’d get from seeing that… mind blowing right? Well that’s bread making! I always try to whip up some sort of bread at least once every month, partly because I love good, healthy bread but also because I’m dedicated to becoming a better bread maker. The process is simple in hindsight but everything has to be executed correctly for your bread to turn out epic!

Yeasty breads are my favourite so this Beetroot Bread is a combo of yeast and earthy wheat to give that incredible, natural flavour! The beets send this bread over the top. If someone asked me to describe beets in one word, I’d say ‘earthy’; beets just taste of the earth to me and even though they are grown under ground like any other tuber, beets seem to absorb the very essence of the ground. This makes them one of my favourite vegetables, in fact, I’m obsessed with beetroots! And, I’m looking forward to planting my beetroot along with some other veggies I’ve got waiting to be plunged into red, rich dirt.

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I made this bread by boiling and blending my beets to a smooth, liquid consistency (using the same liquid I boiled them in).

I combined my yeast with my lukewarm water, added olive oil and honey and mixed it together before adding salt and my flours in batches; I had a mixture of all-purpose and wheat. Then I added the beet puree and brought it all together with a wooden spoon. I had to knead mine by hand since I am electric mixer-less but you go ahead and use a mixer with the dough attachment and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. You want super smooth dough with a long stretch to it; so when you pull on the dough it shouldn’t break off right away, it should stretch!

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After I kneaded the dough, I balled it up and dropped it into a clean, oiled bowl. Then the waiting begun. I covered the dough and waited 1 hour for it to proof

And when it did, I punched it down, shaped it into loaves and covered it again and waited 45 minutes more for a second proofing. I scored the bread to help steam escape and added pumpkin seeds to the top. The real intricacy is in the baking of the bread. You’ll want a hot oven, preferably a hearth oven that’ll get your bread super crusty. Creating steam also helps so what many bread makers do is spray water into to oven as the bread bakes. All that steam creates beautiful charred bread with a slight hint of bitterness.

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Unfortunately I don’t have a hearth oven to create that super crusty hearth bread and if you’re in the same boat as I am you might wanna get yourself a good baking stone to help the process along. That’s my next move in bread making!

This is a great every day, versatile bread that’ll be good for sandwiches, accompaniments to soups, as croutons in salads and when this bread becomes a few days old, it’s great in bread pudding!

Begin your bread journey! Check out the recipe below!

Beetroot Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

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INGREDIENTS

-1/4 cup lukewarm water (110°F)

-2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

-1 tablespoon honey

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-1 1/2  teaspoons salt

-2 cups all-purpose flour

-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

-1 1/2 cups beetroot puree

-2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add water and yeast to a bowl and let sit for 3 minutes. Add the honey and oil and some of the flour and all the salt. Mix it together using a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the beetroot puree and the remaining flours then mix until it comes together.
  3. Using an electric mixer with the dough hook attached, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and stretchy. If you are kneading with your hands, knead for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a clean, oiled bowl. Roll the ball of dough around in the oil to coat all over. Cover and let proof for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 370°F.
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and transfer it unto a lightly floured surface.
  7. Divide the dough in half and shape it into two loaves.
  8. Place them on a baking stone or a sheet and cover again, allowing the loaves to proof for 45 minutes.
  9. Score the loaves and top them with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds each.
  10. Put them into the oven immediately and bake for 30 minutes or until tapping on the bottom of the loaves makes a hollow sound.
  11. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
  12. Slice and serve.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

 

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

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One of the perks of living in cool cool Mandeville is the abundance of wild purple raspberries all around. These juicy fruits grow on the street sides in my community and produce fruit all year round! As kids, my brother, cousin and I would pick berries as we walked home after school and eat them as a sort of travelling snack.

You have to be pretty skillful to maneuver your way around a raspberry bush since this plant safeguards itself by pricking you when you try to pick the fruit. And then there are the mosquitoes who seem to live within the bushes and swarm out once you get close. But the reward is pure sweetness in the form of juicy juicy berries so it ends up being all worth it. I mean, have you ever had sun-ripened, wild, organic berries that grow towards the setting sun while getting ample sunshine from the midday sun and lots of rainfall? The result is big, yummy berries you have to taste to believe.

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I’ve had gallons of smoothies but I never had the bowl kind that I see on every ‘foodcentric’ website or Instagram page so I decided to pure my smoothie in a bowl this time instead of the more traditional glass. First rule of smoothie in a bowl is of course making it thicker; the best way to do this is to add less liquid. I used almond milk the first time I made this but coconut milk will work great and will add that sweet flavour that pairs so well with fruits! You also wanna get your smoothie ingredients super cold; I froze my berries but left my banana as is but you can freeze everything and chill your liquid too so you get the thickest, frostiest smoothie possible.

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So the recipe is super simple and easy which is basically the drift of a smoothie of any sort, bowl or glass. It’s just berries, a banana, almond milk and blend, pour into a bowl and then top with all sorts of fruits, seeds or nuts. I opted for pumpkin seeds which are protein-packed and chia seeds which are a small, tiny pebble of complete protein (so no lack of protein here), guavas because they are the fruit of my home right now and full of vitamins, coconut flakes because I just love the texture and taste they add and of course fresh berries and sliced bananas.

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I had my refreshing bowl for breakfast and it works like a hot cup of morning coffee; it really wakes you up and leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for the day! It’s great as an accompaniment to a hot breakfast as well so you can have your cooked breakfast and then top it off with a smoothie bowl! Just writing this now has me thinking of a tangy, citrus smoothie bowl that’ll pep me up in the mornings even more (look out for that recipe soon enough)!

So without further chatter, let’s get into the recipe.

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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A delicious and refreshing breakfast pick-me-up!

INGREDIENTS

-1 fresh, ripe banana

-2 guavas

-2 cups frozen raspberries

-1 ripe banana (may be frozen)

-1/3 cup almond milk or coconut milk

-1 handful of fresh raspberries

-2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds

-1 tablespoon grated coconut

-chia seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice the fresh bananas and guavas. Set aside.
  2. Add the frozen raspberries, banana and milk to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and add the sliced fruits, fresh berries, seeds and grated coconut to the top.
  4. Serve immediately.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Yummy Rosemary Bread

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If you’ve seen the Netflix food documentary, Cooked, and watched the ‘Air’ episode, you would have seen and fallen in love with bread, that is, if you hadn’t already committed your life to this beautiful creation.

Now, I must admit that for almost a year now, I’ve practiced to only eat naturally made breads, those are the ones without those gross additives. That being said, if I was starving and the only thing around was fake bread, I’d eat it. At the same time, I don’t eat the good stuff often, cause, hello! bread is notoriously carby and not in a ‘gets me lean way’. BUT, from time to time I choose to indulge in crusty, crispy bread that I purchase from a really good bakery, like Eleni’s Bakery in Kingston or breads that I make at home.

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Today I’ll teach you how to make a Rosemary Bread. In our garden, we’ve got about 1/2 dozen rosemary shrubs growing all in the same area; I call it the rosemary bushes. My cat is aptly named Rosemary because she’s pretty much always hanging out in the rosemary bushes.

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Naturally, with so much rosemary in the backyard, we don’t limit its use to meats or tea so this recipe is only one in a line of rosemarycentric recipes.

The recipe calls for only two sprigs of rosemary so no stress if you don’t have a garden full like me. You could even use dried rosemary as a substitute but fresh is better. If you do have a rosemary bush, try to find sprigs with blossoms; the little lavender flowers have the most delicate rosemary flavour and look undoubtedly pretty used as garnish.

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I added garlic (and rosemary) on top of my bread because I love garlic bread but if you’re not a fan of garlic, just eliminate it when you’re making this recipe.

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Also, don’t let the amount of extra virgin olive oil scare you, it’ll get your bread crispy and crusty, just the way it should be.

The pan I used also helped to achieve this crust. I used a dutch pot style frying pan, known by non-Jamaicans as a cast iron skillet.

So without more chatter, lets get into the recipe.

Rosemary Bread

  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Difficulty: moderate
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This is just perfect with soups and as a side to pasta or as apart of your breakfast.

INGREDIENTS

The Dough:

1 cup warm water at 110°F

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon active dry instant yeast

3/4 teaspoon sea salt or table salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Baking:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (optional)

2 sprigs rosemary, divided or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, divided

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or table salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add water, sugar and yeast to a stainless steel or glass bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon and let it hang out for 5 minutes. It should be bubbley afterwards.
  2. Add the salt, oil and flour and mix with the wooden spoon to form a super sticky, soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and keep extra flour on hand for dusting.
  4. Knead for about 8-10 minutes to get the dough stretchy but still soft and moist (don’t add too much flour or the dough will be tight and dry). Add one of the rosemary sprigs or 1 teaspoon of the dried rosemary. You can use a mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for 8 minutes.
  5. Oil the bowl you mixed the dough in with extra virgin olive oil. Scrape the dough up and shape it into a ball then put it in the oiled bowl. Turn it in the bowl to get oil all over.
  6. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 45 minutes.
  7. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the cast iron skillet.
  8. Once risen, punch the dough down and remove it from the bowl. Press it down into the skillet lightly to get an even surface.
  9. Make a pattern on the surface of the dough using a sharp knife or razor ( I did random slits).
  10. Pour on the other 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the other sprig of rosemary (or dried rosemary) and the sliced garlic. Cover and let proof again for 20 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  12. Once risen, bake the dough for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  13. Check doneness by tapping on the bread surface; if it sounds hollow, its done. After baking, remove the bread from the pan, otherwise it won’t be crispy.
  14. Cool it a bit on a cooling rack and add the rosemary blossoms. Slice it up and serve it warm.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Summer=Veges=Okra

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Summer brings tons of yummy vegetables and one of these is my absolute favourite, OKRA! Yes, I know okra gets a lot of heat for being slimy and some people find that pretty… not awesome, but there are ways to hide its slimy nature and really appreciate the flavour of this unique vegetable.

 

Here in Jamaica we usually embrace this slippery vege but I’m sure there are some of you out there who won’t touch the stuff because of the dreaded slime. Here’s how to get your okra fix, minus the slime.

I played around a lot with this recipe; the first time I made these Okra Fritters, I added corn and tomatoes and I replaced the flour with cornmeal to make it gluten free. It was good, no, it was great but the second recipe was just amazing.

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The Gluten Free Version

The recipe I’m sharing can be tweaked to make it gluten free and vegan; just replace the flour with cornmeal or say, rice flour, and the eggs with 1 banana, yes I know, its wacky but it works and gives a hint of sweetness.

Get the recipe below.

Okra Fritters

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is great for breakfast, as an appetizer or a quick snack.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz. okra

3 oz corn kernels

1 1/2 oz red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1 1/2 cups flour or 1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk or 1/3 cup good ole water

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Olive oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice the okra thinly.
  2. Dice the bell pepper into small pieces.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dried herbs.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the flour. Mix and add the bell pepper and most of the okra slices, reserving some for the top.
  5. Add the milk and mix to create a batter that is not too thin but not thick.
  6. Add the grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Put enough oil in a frying pan over medium heat and scoop about two tablespoons of batter in the pan. Quickly place a few pieces of the okra on top.
  8. Cook on one side for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the fritter over and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Serve with sour cream or sriracha yogurt.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

An Avocado A Day…

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Yup, its avocado season once again (or what we here in Jamaica call, pear time) and in my house its been the accompaniment to every single meal; mainly because we have two big avocado trees in the backyard and have more avocados than we can eat.

 

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Blue skies and Avocados

I have already exceeded my guacamole intake for this season and I’ve made avocado hair and face masks at least a dozen times so what else could I possible do with this godsent fruit? Well, how about some good ole eggs in avocado? What, doesn’t sound familiar? It should, apparently its all the rage this season, specifically baked avocado and eggs.

The recipe I came up with is based on the things I had in my refrigerator and pantry so I’m thinking you could make this trendy meal with whatever you got in your kitchen, I mean, not many things can spoil eggs and avocado, don’t you agree?

I must say though that I would not recommend us Jamaicans to bake these since our Jamaican varieties of avocados take on an awful bitter flavour when cooked for long periods, say anything over 5 minutes. But as long as you have varieties like Hass, it should be fine to bake them… Proceed with caution.

Instead of baking, I cooked my eggs separately using a frying pan and a small ring mold, one that was big enough to hold an egg yolk plus some egg whites. If you don’t have a ring mold, you could get creative and fashion one out of foil paper or use tiny cupcake tins and bake the eggs. Or, if you are a top shotta chef and you have a blow torch, fire that baby up and gently set the eggs while in the avocado. Failing all that, you could poach your eggs instead although I doubt it would fit in the avocado hole but It’ll still taste pretty darn good.

I dressed up my eggs in avocado with some Moroccan chickpeas, sriracha sauce, lime yogurt and some fresh mint. It turned out super delicious; the lime yogurt helps to cut the richness of the avocado and the egg yolk and those Moroccan chickpeas add that kick you need with something as creamy as avocado. This is a killer wake-me-up breakfast dish.

Check out the recipe below.

Eggs In Avocado

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a great wake-me-up breakfast item and its a super simple recipe.

INGREDIENTS

Moroccan chickpeas:

2 oz chickpeas, cooked

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

The base:

1 medium ripe but firm Avocado

1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs

Salt and pepper, to taste

Lime Yogurt:

1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt

1/2 lime

Sriracha sauce

Mint, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the 1/2 tablespoon oil to a pan and set on low heat. Add the spices and allow them to slowly cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chickpeas and salt to season.
  3. Cook until the spices stick to the chickpeas and they become a bit crispy. Set aside.
  4. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed.
  5. Squeeze the 1/2 lime over the avocado and season with salt and pepper.
  6. On low heat, put on a frying pan with the 1/2 teaspoon oil.
  7. Lightly oil the inside of the ring mold and set it in the pan, do not allow the oil to get hot before you add the egg.
  8. Gently add the egg yolk and enough egg whites needed to fill the avocado hole.
  9. Once the egg whites begin to turn white, shut off the heat and cover the pan with a lid for three minutes.
  10. Gently slide a spatula under the ring mold and lift the egg and ring mold out of the pan and over the avocado hole.
  11. Move the spatula and allow the egg to slide into the avocado hole.
  12. Spoon some Chickpeas ontop.
  13. Squeeze the desired amount of sriracha sauce over top.
  14. Squeeze the lime into the yogurt and mix. Spoon some over the avocados and top with chopped mint.

 

I hope you shine today!heart