Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp and Mushrooms for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

Last week when I was looking for spicy soup recipes I saw this Thai-inspired hot and sour soup from Nigella Lawson on Food Network and decided to make it. It's nicely spicy and not too heavy, making it perfect for summer eating.


Since I didn't have the Tom Yam hot and sour paste, I used a mixture of red curry and tamarind paste to get the sour notes. I also added some coconut milk because I love it in a Thai-flavored broth. 


Shrimp and Mushroom Hot and Sour Soup 
Adapted from Nigella Lawson via FoodNetwork.com
(Serves 4)

6 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 heaping Tbsp Tom Yam hot and sour paste (I used 1 Tbsp red curry paste + 1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste)
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1 stalk lemongrass, bottom inner part only, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 to 3 small jalapenos, finely chopped (I used two)
1 tsp sugar
(I added 1 cup coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups straw or button mushrooms, sliced
1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp
5 1-inch pieces scallions, sliced thin
1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped 

In a medium saucepan, heat stock, tom yam paste, lime leaves, lemon grass, lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, and sugar. Once it has come to a boil, add mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and scallions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the shrimp to cook but still be tender. Taste and check for seasoning.

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately. Place extra cilantro on the table for people to add more. 

 
Notes/Results: This soup has a nice blend of spicy, sweet, sour, and savory and with the shrimp and mushrooms, it satisfies without being heavy. I think adding coconut milk is a big plus--it makes the broth rich and creamy. You can of course adjust the spice level--I used two peppers--one seeded and one not and with my red curry/tamarind paste mix, I  found it medium in spice--which is what I like. You can also add additional lime juice, which I did. This soup would also be good as all mushroom and veggie, with some tofu, or chicken if you eat meat or poultry. I would happily make it again.


I am linking this up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this coming week is Potluck week--our chance to make any recipe from our current IHCC chef or any of the past IHCC featured chefs.  
 
We have some delicious dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!


Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog made Pasta Salad with Olives and Veggies and said, "Sometimes you need an easy go-to recipe to serve on those hot hot hot summer nights when you just don't feel like doing any real cooking. Pasta (gluten free of course) salad seems to be that recipe for me. This Mediterranean style salad is flavorful, fragrant and can be made in advance. We enjoy it paired with  cold soup  or cheese and ( GF) crackers."

 
Shaheen from Allotment2Kitchen shared a summer soup and said, "Zucchini, Broad Beans, Peas and Mint Soup - all the fresh green ingredients have been grown in my garden plot and were picked at the weekend. I know its warm, so why on earth would I make soup? I just fancied something light and its been a while since I made a zucchini soup. I have to admit, I did not enjoy it as much on the day it was made, preferring it a day or two later when the flavours improved, still it made for a lovely summer soup, one to eat with a spoon from a bowl or from an mug if you want to sit in the garden and slurp, watching the bees sneaking in and out of nasturtium flowers."

 
Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared two salads she enjoyed, Taziki's Signature Pasta Salad and a Cobb Salad and said, "This salad was packed with chicken, tomatoes, feta and a ton of pasta.  Honestly, it was so much pasta I couldn't finish it.  I probably wouldn't get it again but that doesn't mean I don't like it. Next we have a Cobb Salad.  Ok, I know (as does everyone who can read the ingredients list) that a Cobb salad is not usually healthy.  Too much blue cheese and definitely too much bacon!  But it was a late lunch again and this appealed.  See how large?  This is the lunch portion, the smaller portion.  No way could I eat a larger salad, I didn't quite finish this one."

 
Mahalo to everyone who joined me this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).




Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Char-Grilled Baby Lettuce with Asparagus & Feta, Served with Grilled Opah

I am always happy to find a good quick recipe to get on the table at the end of a long week. This easy grill-pan recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of Char-Grilled Baby Lettuce with Asparagus & Feta, could easily be a meal on its own for me but I had some local opah (moon fish) fillets and some cherry tomatoes that needed to be used up so I put it all together for a tasty and not-too-heavy dinner, that I was able to cook in one pot for the asparagus and one grill pan.


Hugh's recipe calls for goat cheese and we have lovely local goat cheeses that I buy often, but tonight I happened to have leftover mild sheep milk feta in the fridge so I used that instead. The asparagus, baby romaine, cherry tomatoes, and opah are all local. 

 
Hugh says, "Char-grilling is usually associated with meat, but it works wonders with vegetables, too, caramelizing their natural sugars and leaving them tender and deliciously bittersweet. I like to use a firm goat's cheese here, such as Woolsery English Goat, but any firm, not-too-pungent cheese would work well, or go for good old Parmesan."

Char-Grilled Baby Lettuce with Asparagus & Feta
Slightly Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall TheGuardian.com
(Serves 4)

About 1 lb asparagus
4 little gem or other baby lettuces
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

salt and freshly ground black pepper
around 3 oz firm, not-too-strong goat's cheese, or cheese of choice


Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and drop the spears into the boiling water. Blanch for a minute or two (depending on thickness), until al dente, then drain.
 
Meanwhile, cut the lettuces in half down the middle, leaving them joined at the root end. Put in a large bowl with the drained asparagus, add two tablespoons of olive oil, season generously and toss to coat, working the oil and seasoning into the lettuces a little with your hands.
 
Heat a ridged griddle pan or heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the lettuce halves cut-side down, cook for two minutes until golden brown and wilted on the base, then turn over and cook for a minute or two more. Transfer to a large, warmed serving platter.
 
Now add the asparagus to the pan and cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and patched with brown. Arrange on the platter with the lettuce.
 
Thinly slice the cheese (or, if it's particularly crumbly, crumble it) and arrange over the griddled veg. Trickle with a little more oil and serve at once. Add some bread and this makes a great starter, but it's also a delicious side dish.


Notes/Results: This was such a good dinner! It was quick and easy to make--a pot for blanching the asparagus--needed in this case as the local asparagus was quite thick, and one grill pan for the lettuce, then the asparagus, and then the opah. I kept the opah simple--just salt, pepper, and a tiny sprinkle of smoked paprika grilled to perfection and served with lemon. It worked well with the sweet cherry tomatoes and the baby lettuce-asparagus mix. The grilling brings out the sweetness of the baby lettuce and gives it and the asparagus so much good flavor--complemented by the slightly salty but mild feta that gets nicely softened by the warm vegetables. I will happily make this again. 


I'm linking this recipe up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Get to Grilling! You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

I'm also linking it up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Happy Weekend!
 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Another Man's Ground" by Claire Booth, Served with a Recipe for Pecan Delight Ice Cream Pie

Happy Tuesday! I'm happy to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth, the second book in a Branson, Missouri-set mystery series. Along with my review, I am sharing a recipe for a sinful Pecan Delight Ice Cream Pie, inspired by my reading. 


Publisher's Blurb:

It starts out as an interesting little theft case. Branson, Missouri’s new Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at stands of trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the property owner had planned to harvest for the booming herbal supplement market. At first, Hank easily balances the demands of the investigation with his fledgling political career. He was appointed several months earlier to the vacant sheriff position, but he needs to win the fast-approaching election in order to keep his job. He thinks the campaign will go well, as long as he’s able to keep secret the fact that a group of undocumented immigrants – hired to cut down the stripped trees – have fled into the forest and he’s deliberately not looking for them.

But then the discovery of a murder victim deep in the Ozark backwoods sets him in the middle of a generations-old feud that explodes into danger not only for him, but also for the immigrants, his deputies, and his family. He must rush to find a murderer before election day, and protect the vulnerable in Branson County, where politicking is hell and trespassing can get you killed.

In Another Man’s Ground, her next novel featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, acclaimed author Claire Booth delivers a taut, witty mystery that will grip readers from the opening pages to the breathless conclusion.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 11, 2017)

My Review:

Last year I reviewed The Branson Beauty, the first book in the series and really liked the main character Sheriff Hank Worth and the Branson Missouri setting, and so I was excited to read Another Man's Ground which takes up shortly after the first book left off. (Note: It is possible to read this book without reading the first book as the author provides an update and the basic back story, but I would recommend reading The Branson Beauty first--it's good, you'll enjoy it, and you'll get to know most of the key players and supporting characters.) In this book, Hank goes to investigate a report of tree bark theft (it's slippery elm that was bringing the owner good money as it was sold to be processed as an herbal supplement) but the investigation takes a turn when a body is discovered on the neighboring property, and the body of a child is discovered soon after. As if the investigations aren't complicated enough, Hank is fighting a recent nemesis for his role of Sheriff--although he was appointed to the role, the coming election will determine whether he keeps his job. If Hank doesn't win, it could be difficult for him to stay in Branson where he and his surgeon wife and kids have come back to live with his recently widowed father-in-law.

Hank is a great character--he is steady, an overall good guy with a great sense of humor, a talented lawman and good boss, husband and father. I like that the two main women in his life, his wife Maggie and his Deputy Sheila are strong women. The supporting characters, especially Hank's team are well-written--even though we don't get to spend much time with many of them. Claire Booth does a good job with writing the cases and the investigations--they seem real and there are enough twists to keep it interesting. I never quite have everything figured out, which I value in a mystery. Although there is a lot going on in the book between the police work for the different cases and Hank's foray into the political arena, it never feels like too much and the pacing is good, especially as the action and tension ramp up to the conclusion. If you like good mysteries, police procedurals, and small town settings, this is a series you will enjoy. I look forward to the third book.   

-----

Author Notes: Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways.
 
For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit www.clairebooth.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

-----

Food Inspiration:

There is not a focus on food in these books, but there is food to be found--examples include: mentions of sassafras and ginseng, coffee, lasagna, green beans and vegetables, tri-tip steak, granola bars, a luncheon with dry chicken and limp salad, iced tea, soda, a peanut butter sandwich, a Ruben sandwich, bacon, cereal, biscuits and gravy, homemade raisin bread, tossed salad, ham and cheese sandwich, chocolate chip cookies and grape soda, pork chops, cookies, carnitas, chile verde, beef jerky, a Sonic burger, candy bar wrappers, a Snickers bar, iced raspberry Danish, protein bars, and lemonade. 


For my review of the first book, The Branson Beauty, I made a vegan version of the Pecan Delight candies that Hank loves. I was going to go another direction for this book but I kept coming back to those candies and thinking about how I could do something different with the ingredients. I thought about a milkshake or ice cream but then I thought about a Pecan Delight Ice Cream Pie


When I was growing up, I used to melt ice cream and stir in sprinkles and put it in a pie plate--calling it ice cream pie. This is a few steps up from that with a Pecan Sandie cookie shortbread crust, chocolate ice cream, caramel, toasted pecans and chocolate drizzle. Rather than make a large pie, I made 4 small pies in my mini tart pans.  


Pecan Delight Ice Cream Pie
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 4 Individual Tarts or 1 9-inch Pie)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups of Pecan Sandies cookie crumbs (about 14 cookies
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

Filling & Garnish:
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and separated for filling & garnish
5 cups chocolate ice cream, softened enough to be stir-able
1/3 cup caramel ice cream sauce + extra for garnish
1 cup whipped cream
chocolate sauce or melted chocolate to drizzle

To Make Crust: In a small bowl, mix together Pecan Sandies crumbs, sugar and salt and add the melted butter. Stir to combine well. Press mixture evenly into (lightly greased) pie tin or mini tart tins--making sure the bottom and sides are covered with a thin layer of the cookie mixture and chill for 1 hour before using.

To Make Filling: Reserve about 20 or so of the best-looking pecan halves for garnish and chop the rest. Put the softened ice cream into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the chopped pecans and caramel until well mixed. 

To Assemble Pie: Spread the topping evenly on the chilled crust. Freeze pie for 2 to 3 hours before serving. When read to serve, top pie with whipped cream and reserved pecans and drizzle with the caramel sauce and chocolate sauce or melted chocolate if desired. Enjoy!


Notes/Results: I am not going to claim that this is the prettiest pie, but it is decadent and delicious between the Pecan Sandies in crust, the caramel topping, chocolate ice cream, pecans and chocolate drizzle. I should have been a bit more patient with my crusts and pressed them down so that they were thinner--so I could have fit more ice cream in them, but overall, I am pretty happy with the flavors in this and how it turned out. They are pretty rich--I could only eat half of one but I am happy to keep the rest in the freezer and pull them out when a craving strikes. I would happily make them again--especially the crust which was delectable.


I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

 
Note: A review copy of "Another Man's Ground" was provided to me by the publisher Minotaur Books and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Asian-Style Cucumber Soup: Cool and Refreshing for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I eat warm soups year-round, even in the hotter, more humid days of summer. Still, it's nice to enjoy a flavorful cold soup when it's too hot to do much cooking or want to spend much time in the kitchen.


This Asian-Style Cucumber Soup from Mark Bittman is perfect for summer eating. It simple, has fresh flavors, and a kick of spicy heat from the chili pepper. I made a few small changes to the recipe--making it a vegan soup, upping the rice vinegar a bit, and topping it with sesame seeds and chili oil. My changes are in red below.


Asian-Style Cucumber Soup
From Mark Bittman, via TheNewYorkTimes.com
(Serves 4)

2 medium cucumbers
3 Tbsp soy sauce (I used low-sodium tamari)
2 Tbsp  rice or white wine vinegar (I added an extra Tbsp)
1 small chili, stemmed, seeded and minced, or 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
2 tsp sugar (I used agave)
3 cups chicken stock, chilled (I used low sodium-no-chicken veggie broth)
1/2 cup minced scallions, both white and green parts
1 cup chopped watercress or arugula (optional)
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, mint, Thai basil or a combination
(I used all three) 

Peel cucumbers, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible (a mandoline is ideal for this). Mix them in a bowl with soy sauce, vinegar, chili and sugar, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Add stock, scallions, watercress or arugula if you like, and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning. (I added another tablespoon of rice vinegar.) Just before serving, garnish with herb or herbs of your choice. (I added a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and a few drops of chili oil.)


Notes/Results: This is such a tasty and refreshing soup. I liked it even more than I thought I would. The balance of flavors wit the savory, sweet and acidity works well and the peppery bite of the watercress and the cooling flavor of the herbs is nice. There is a slight kick at the end from the chili, but I liked enhancing it with the chili oil for just a bit more heat. Even if you are leery of or not crazy about cold soups, if you like Asian-flavored cucumber salads and herbs, this one would be a good one to try. It would make a nice starter for some grilled fish or a dinner of sushi. I will happily make it again.


I'm linking this soup up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is our Monthly Ingredient Challenge: Just for Kicks--Spicy Dishes. You can see what spicy dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post. 


We have two delicious dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!


Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared this lovely Minted Quinoa Tabouli Salad (Tabbouleh) and said, "Summer has officially arrived and fresh seasonal vegetable salads are a welcome addition at any gathering. I especially love tabouli ( tabbouleh) made with lots of fresh parsley and fresh mint. ... The vegan and gluten free salad was light, rich in summer vegetables, and tastefully dressed. It's a nice diversion from the
traditional
lettuce and tomato salad."


Here at Kahakai Kitchen I made two delicious open-faced toasts this week, full of mood-enhancing dopamines: Avocado Toast with Sriracha-Garlic Mayo and Banana and Almond Butter with Dark Chocolate Drizzle. Either of these are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or for a sammie snack. 


Mahalo to Judee for joining me this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).


 
Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Strange Contagion" by Lee Daniel Kravetz, Served with Two Toasts: Avocado with Spicy Sriracha Mayo & Banana Almond Butter with Chocolate Drizzle

I've been trying to branch out more in my reading so I am happy to be on the TLC Book Tour for Strange Contagion: Inside the Surprising Science of Infectious Behaviors and Viral Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves by Lee Daniel Kravetz, a book about the science behind social contagion--the way infectious behaviors, emotions and actions can come together and how ideas spread. Along with my review, I am serving up two of my favorite toasts: Avocado Toast with Spicy Sriracha Mayo and Banana Almond Butter Toast with Dark Chocolate Drizzle, inspired by my reading and sure to pump up those dopamines and your mood. 


Publisher's Blurb:

Picking up where The Tipping Point leaves off, respected journalist Lee Daniel Kravetz’s Strange Contagion is a provocative look at both the science and lived experience of social contagion.

In 2009, tragedy struck the town of Palo Alto: A student from the local high school had died by suicide by stepping in front of an oncoming train. Grief-stricken, the community mourned what they thought was an isolated loss. Until, a few weeks later, it happened again. And again. And again. In six months, the high school lost five students to suicide at those train tracks.
 
A recent transplant to the community and a new father himself, Lee Daniel Kravetz’s experience as a science journalist kicked in: what was causing this tragedy? More important, how was it possible that a suicide cluster could develop in a community of concerned, aware, hyper-vigilant adults?
 
The answer? Social contagion. We all know that ideas, emotions, and actions are communicable—from mirroring someone’s posture to mimicking their speech patterns, we are all driven by unconscious motivations triggered by our environment. But when just the right physiological, psychological, and social factors come together, we get what Kravetz calls a “strange contagion:” a perfect storm of highly common social viruses that, combined, form a highly volatile condition.
 
Strange Contagion is simultaneously a moving account of one community’s tragedy and a rigorous investigation of social phenomenon, as Kravetz draws on research and insights from experts worldwide to unlock the mystery of how ideas spread, why they take hold, and offer thoughts on our responsibility to one another as citizens of a globally and perpetually connected world.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper Wave (June 27, 2017)

My Review:

Psychology and especially why people do what they do has always fascinated me so I was immediately pulled into Strange Contagion. I was not familiar with the Palo Alto tragedies where a series of students and recent graduates from one high school committed suicide on the commuter train tracks, and it is both sad and mystifying. Besides living in the same town and going to the same high school, there was no real connection to these students--they all participated in different activities and were not friends, yet a cluster was formed. Author Kravetz, recently moved to the community looked for an explanation and found it in the phenomenon of social contagion--which if it sounds like a disease, it moves and acts like one with its ability to infect a group like a virus. 

I was immediately absorbed in the book which although it can lapse deeply into science and facts at times, manages to put the information forth in a palatable way. Kravetz did a lot of research but the detailed facts he uncovered are tempered with emotion--you can tell he truly cares about his subject and the heartbreak his community faced, as well as having his own fears of bringing up his children in a community where the suicide clusters happened not once, but twice. The examples of social contagions are not limited to Palo Alto--it is in many aspects of life. Examples included bulimia and how the discovery and attempts to provide information via the media led to a sudden increase of cases, gun violence and school shootings, the outbreak of accusations of abuse and satanic rituals at daycare centers across the country, and even the more mundane like work groups and how one negative person on a team can drag down productivity--something I have witnessed many times. There are positive examples of social contagion too, like telenovelas with positive images that led to increased sign-ups for adult literacy. Kravetz gives some ideas including caring more about ourselves and each other, training people to look for warning signs of social contagions, and trying to intercept negative chains before they get started. There is also a resource section on suicide prevention at the back of the book.

Strange Contagion packs a lot of information into 280-some pages and its hard to do it justice in a review. If you like learning about science, psychology and emotion, you will likely find this book as fascinating as I did. Living in the times that we do, it is especially easy to see social contagions in action--as the recent elections are a great example. I found many ah-hah moments in the book and will probably go back and read at least sections of it again. Not a breezy summer read but a good one.

-----

Author Notes: Lee Daniel Kravetz has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Journalism. He has written for Psychology Today, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times, among other publications. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and children.
 
Find out more about Lee at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.



-----

Food Inspiration: 

So, Strange Contagion is a book that leans to the serious and scientific and not the food. There are a few mentions of coffees, lunch, apples and sushi and tempura and I am not making light of the seriousness of the suicides in Palo Alto by including a recipe pairing--it's what I do. I decided to go with dopamines for my inspiration, also known as the good enhancing or happy hormone in the brain. I do a workshop on "good mood foods"--that includes foods thought to naturally boost the dopamine levels with serotonin, selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, folic acid and calcium. I figure that we live in a tough world, so anything we can do to make ourselves feel better is a good thing. 

Here are a dozen foods thought to add to a positive mood.  

12 Good Mood Foods

1.     Bananas

2.     Oranges and other citrus fruit

3.     Oats & whole grains

4.     Almonds

5.     Chicken and turkey

6.     Avocado

7.     Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame)

8.     Fatty fish (salmon, black cod, sardines)

9.     Dark chocolate

10.  Green Vegetables

11.  Dairy products

12.  Berries


Honestly, avocado toast never fails to put me in a good mood and I eat it at least a couple of times a week--at my favorite local coffee shop and at home as asked the owner what was in their Spicy Garlic Aioli and recreated it at home so I can supplement my avo toast consumption on days I'm not there. Although nothing beats their toast and having someone make it for me, it's a pretty close approximation. When I don't have ripe avocados on hand, I like using apple bananas and almond butter on my toast and nothing enhances a mood like drizzling dark chocolate on top of something. I make both of these on an oat and grain seeded bread. Plenty of good mood foods going on here. 

I've included my recipe for Sriracha-Garlic Mayo, that I use on the toast and just about anything else as well as instructions for putting both toasts together.
 

Sriracha-Garlic Mayo
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use vegan garlic mayo)
2 1/2 Tbsp sriracha, or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder (I use roasted garlic powder)
1/2 Tbsp pickle or caper juice

Stir together ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add additional Sriracha or seasoning as desired. 

Cover and chill until ready to use. Will keep for about a week to ten days in fridge.


To make Avocado Toast with Spicy Garlic Mayo: Toast seeded grain bread and spread with a thin layer of garlic butter. Top with thinly-sliced avocado and drizzle with Sriracha Garlic Mayo. Sprinkle lightly with celery salt and enjoy!

To make Banana Almond Butter Toast: Toast seeded grain bread and spread with a layer of almond butter. Top with thinly sliced banana and drizzle melted dark chocolate on top if desired. Enjoy!


Notes/Results: What can I say? I eat both of these toasts all the time and love them. If you don't like bananas, sliced strawberries work equally well with the almond butter and chocolate, and you can also substitute peanut butter or any other nut butter if you like. With the Sriracha-Garlic Mayo, you can make it as hot as you like--I like it to have a good kick but not burn my taste buds and the creamy avocado cools things down a bit. Just don't leave off the celery salt from this toast--the combination just makes it. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or a snack, these toasts keep me satisfied and in a good mood. 


I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


I'm also linking up these tasty sandwich-y toasts to Souper Sundays, hosted here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup.

 
Note: A review copy of "The Strange Contagion" was provided to me by the publisher Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.