Saturday, May 7, 2016

Green Tea Party - Kale Quinoa Crispy Avocado Salad and Matcha Cupcakes

 Ahhhh....Spring- the mixed weather, the allergies, the last few weeks of school, the weekend doubleheader baseball games. I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder and pulled the covers back over my head. So much for a trail run followed by a bike ride on the way to afternoon baseballs games. Perfect day for sleeping in and trying some new recipes, instead....

My daughter's art class made tea cups in ceramics and they were capping off the project with a Japanese tea party. She was set on making green tea cupcakes for the tea party. She left me with a couple of packets of matcha green tea powder (which I had received in an order for something entirely unrelated to green tea), instructions and a delivery time.
While the cupcakes baked, I steeped a couple of bags of green tea to use on my eyes. I know many people are suffering right now with seasonal allergies. Follow me to the end of the post to see how I treated my allergy suffering eyes while the cupcakes baked in the oven for 12 minutes.
Minis out of the oven. Half matcha, half regular white/almond cupcake batter.
 I gave each mini cupcake a swirl of frosting and a dash of matcha powder on the top. The cupcakes were a hit with the kids and the left overs were saved for this tea party.
The cupcakes are simple and the flavor is really enhanced with the bit of matcha powder. The matcha is subtle and makes a pretty presentation.
For the dessert plate, I added a sweet puffed rice roll and warm green tea.
 Next, the Kale, Quinoa and Crispy Avocado Salad
I chopped some kale while the quinoa cooked on the stovetop. Also added to this salad were feta crumbles and craisins.
 The dressing is simply balsamic vinegar, avocado oil, and Dijon mustard whisked and drizzled over the salad.
This quinoa salad can be served warm or cold. I decided to top the salad with panko baked avocado slices. You'll need 1-2 avocados, one bowl of panko, one bowl of flour, one egg, salt & pepper (or other seasoning, to taste).
 Coat a foil-lined pan with oil. I used my oil du jour. Heat the oven to 400F.
Cut/peel the avocados, whisk the egg. Dip/coat the avocado in flour, egg and then panko. I found the flour an unnecessary step. I recommend seasoning the panko or using a pre-seasoned panko.
I sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt and pepper. Bake approximately 20minutes or until golden brown.
I also recommend eating the baked avocado slices while still warm. Such a pretty afternoon tea for a stormy spring day!
Now, back to allergies and remedies.  My allergies used to show up in the form of an itchy throat/nose, sneezing or the sensation of sharp needles poking into my eyes. At least I could hide an itchy throat!
Recently, I've been waking up with puffy, wrinkly, baggy eyes- the skin below the eyes feeling on fire (see top left photo, below) while I figure out a new slew of allergens. It is quite unpleasant, uncomfortable and really unattractive. I've found a quick rescue with great results by placing cooled green tea bags on my eyes for 10 minutes. The caffeine reduces puffiness by constricting the blood vessels. Bags/wrinkles...be gone...and I can get on with my day. Try it, you'll like it!
I pretty much have the allergy situation under control now by avoiding all forms of corn, tomatoes, white potatoes, honey and artificial sweeteners. My skin care line has dwindled down to straight avocado oil, coconut oil or sesame oil. Saves expensive skin care lines and I can apply at my bathroom sink or while I'm in the kitchen!

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