Dislike avocado? Or just want a new idea?

Avocados are a great source of potassium, fiber, essential fatty acids, and a bunch of other great stuff. But what if you don’t like the texture, or the color? What if you’d rather eat chocolate pudding? On the other hand, what if lactose intolerance bars you from enjoying pudding?

Not to worry, there’s an alternative: avocado chocolate pudding. At first, I was skeptical. So skeptical in fact that I almost let the avocado go bad before trying it. I tried it just in time.

The recipes on the internet call for things I don’t have, like coconut milk, so I just left those out. I mixed up the good part of the avocado (must be soft), 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, and a bunch of sugar, maybe 2-3 tablespoons. If you have less of a sweet tooth than I do, start with less, you can always add more. Smush it all together and add enough water to get a pudding texture.

It looked like pudding. Summoning my courage, I tasted a little. Tastes like sweet chocolate. The texture is exactly the texture of chocolate pudding. Yay!

Refrigerate for best effect.


It’s not the Sodium, It’s the Balance

All my life I had low-normal blood pressure, except when exposed to petrochemically-based fragrances and grooming products, then it spiked. The fairly low blood pressure was fine and dandy, until I got where it wasn’t safe for me to cook anymore. I switched to frozen dinners (mainly Marie Callender’s – they don’t taste fakey like some brands). I noticed my blood pressure started running a bit high. Not horrible like the petrochemical spikes, but too high for complacency.

Prepared foods often have higher levels of sodium than scratch cooking, and high sodium intake is often associated with high blood pressure. So I Googled around and learned, or re-learned, that part of managing sodium levels is not just reducing sodium, but balancing it with potassium.

The sites I found talked about eating potassium-rich foods like peas and bananas. There’s only so many bananas and peas I’m going to realistically eat. Eating them did lower my pressure some, but not enough, and I knew I’d eventually drift away from eating that way. So I bought some potassium tablets and added them to my weekly minder pill-keeping-track-thingy.

Well, wow. Within a few days my pressure was back to my normal 117 or so over 73 or so. I think I’ll take the potassium tablets maybe five days out of seven instead of every day, because there is such as thing as TOO MUCH potassium. If you take too much it can cause irregular heartbeat and even cardiac arrest.

That drawer under the oven

Who knew? On some ovens, that drawer I’ve been keeping baking dishes in is intended for keeping food warm. They keep one dish warm while the others finish cooking, or to keep the whole dinner warm if there’s a delay in sitting down to eat. They don’t cook food, just keep it warm at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not all drawers under the oven are designed to do that. The owners manual will say.

Ice, Ice, Baby

A couple of days before Hurricane Matthew got here I took my largest food storage containers, filled them with water, and put them in the freezer. On Friday, the power was out for thirteen hours. Because of the large ice blocks, the temperature never went below thirty degrees and I didn’t lose any food.




Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

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Earning opportunity – Shop for Shipt

Now hiring in several southern states, Shipt delivers groceries. If you’re physically able to tote groceries, have a smart phone, car, and driver’s license, this could be a nice part time job. Or for that matter, if there are times you’d like your groceries to just arrive, it could be a nice service for you. Also nice for someone elderly or disabled, or just down with the flu.

The Hot Dog to Bun Inefficiency

Hot dogs usually come ten to a package, and buns generally eight to a package. What to do. After pointlessly complaining about those leftover dogs, there are several options. A hot dog can be yummy without a bun, served like any other meat dish on a plate. Or, there’s no rule that says you can’t wrap the dog in an ordinary slice of bread. I’ve been known to cut up the hot dog and mix it in with something. Mac and cheese. Rice and vegetables.

One could buy another pack of buns, to cover all the dogs, but then there’s the extra buns to deal with. Just because it’s hot dog-shaped doesn’t mean you can’t use it for other sandwichy foods. Or toast. Garlic bread. Allow to go stale and mash up as bread crumbs.

Why do they package it that way? The Straight Dope suggests that meat packers think in pounds – which happens to be ten ordinary size dogs – and bakers think in parts of a dozen, three, four, six, eight. It’s as good an explanation as any.

A Little-Known Way to Save on Groceries

We’ve all heard the advice to never grocery shop when hungry. I’ve found that to be profoundly true – if I shop hungry, everything looks yummy and I buy things I would not have otherwise.

Today I discovered another level of that strategy. I had a grocery store secret shop that included reimbursement for $10 of food. Because I was not only not hungry but also slightly nauseated, I had a hard time finding ten dollars worth of anything that seemed appealing.

Granted it’s not something that happens too often, but shopping while nauseated is a real money saver.